Cyprus, Greece–Divorced father manages to win joint custody of his kids. Mom moves the kids, then “cuts off all communication, making it virtually impossible for him to contact his daughters.”
Mom subjects the kids to “horrific abuse and neglect.” Dad is desperately searching for them. The kids are saved only when concerned acquaintances come across the website dad set up to try to find his girls.
One would think that sole custody for the father would be a slam dunk at this point–it certainly would be for the mother were the situation reversed. Instead, Cyprus authorities are being very careful to protect the abusive mother’s “rights” to the kids she kidnapped and mistreated.
From Dutch police searching for mum who dumped kids in Cyprus (Cyprus Mail):
A MOTHER who abandoned her two young daughters with friends in Cyprus is believed to be in her homeland Holland.
Dutch police are now searching her previous addresses to serve her with a summons, after an arrest warrant was issued in Cyprus for serious child abuse and neglect.
The two girls, aged nine and 11, are now with their father, Gerard Roppeveel, and under the protection of the Cyprus Social Welfare Office.
According to Annita Koni, the Head of the Welfare Office”s Family and Child Service, “The Department has already taken the appropriate measures to protect the children and they are in a safe place under our supervision.’
The two children have been subjected to horrific abuse and neglect over the past four and a half years since they moved to Cyprus with their mother, following their parents” divorce.
Despite being awarded joint custody with Roppeveel, the mother cut off all communication, making it virtually impossible for him to contact his daughters – the eldest of whom was adopted.
It was only when concerned friends and acquaintances of the little girls came across a website, set up by Roppeveel in the hope of finding his daughters, that he was finally reunited with them.
The story came to light when a friend of the family – who frequently took the little girls in to feed, wash and clothe them – contacted the Cyprus Mail and recounted the girls” awful plight.
She was appalled that crippling bureaucracy procedures were preventing Roppeveel from taking his daughters back home, so they could live “a stable and secure life’.
Living in total squalor and being abandoned for weeks on end with friends, bullied at school because they smelled and even having to sleep in the same room with their mum as she had sex with strangers, were just a few of things she said the girls had had to endure in the past four and half years.
Courts in Cyprus are hesitant to allow Roppeveel to leave the island as the mother is not present. They are also having trouble trying to get the girls” passports as they disappeared with their mum, when she left Cyprus over a month ago, leaving her children with the family friend.
According to the Chairman of the House Legal Affairs Committee, Ionas Nicolaou of DISY, there are specific procedures that need to be followed for a father to be able to secure a court order for full custody in the absence of the mother.
“The father must prove that the mother has abandoned her children,’ he explained. “You can”t remove custody from a mother without following specific procedures. He must see a lawyer and start these proceedings.’
Nicolaou said the fact that a warrant had been issued for her arrest was in Roppeveel”s favour, but there are no quick fixes and procedures need to be followed.
His comments were echoed by Child Commissioner Leda Koursoumba. “There is a legal process that needs to be followed,’ she said last night. “One parent cannot just take the children without court approval first. If the Welfare Office knows about the case, then that is the best you can get. You need to be very careful with these things.’