Foreign Father's rights? Mother has 100% Child Custody

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Jason Wright
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Foreign Father's rights? Mother has 100% Child Custody

Post by Jason Wright » Wed Apr 16, 2014 6:37 am

Hi,

I'm hoping someone can share their experience/understanding of how child custody works in Finland and what are the rights of foreign parents. Any links to relevant info is also greatly appreciated. Perhaps there is an organization that provides advice in these matters?

I have two kids (elementary school age) and I separated from my Finnish wife back in 2010 (and we are now legally divorced). My kids live with their mom, and I live in the same neighborhood as them (3 minute walks from their place). I have visitation every other weekend, Wednesday evenings and some holidays.

We had 50/50 custody of the kids up until 2013, and she asked me to give her 100% as I was moving to London. She pleaded that me giving her 100% custody would make her life easier, as she would no longer need my signature on documents pertaining to the kids. I agreed.
Yet, I decided to return to Finland after a few months as it was too difficult to see my kids regularly and I really missed them.

I'm now wondering what 100% parental custody actually means in Finland. My kids are living with their mom the majority of the time, which means that she does indeed have primary physical custody of them. But I now realize that she has 100% power to decide in all matters regarding the kids affairs.

For instance, I took my kids to Estonia and Sweden a few months ago and realized that I probably actually needed to have a letter of permission from my ex-wife to travel with them. My kids have the same surname as me, so this probably didn't raise any flags. The reason I bring this issue of travel up, is that the night before leaving to Tallinn, she threatened me that she was on the verge of not letting them go on the trip, as I we had a disagreement on the details of my weekend visitations with the girls. She ended up backing down, as the disagreement was over minor details.. But she certainly made a point to show that she had power to use leverage with her 100% custody. Yet, during this time me and my kids were going on the trip, it was the Christmas holiday break from school and they were in my physical custody according to the Child Care/Visitation agreement. I wasn't really sure of what my rights actually were in this case and I began to realize the implications of her having 100% custody.

Here are a few questions that hopefully someone can answer:

1. Could my ex-wife have prevented me taking my kids on this trip abroad, even though it was during my visitation period agreed in the Childcare/Visitation Agreement made with the City of Vantaa social services and the trip was already previous agreed with her?

2. And is it really so that I am now just considered a "relative" to my kids, with no say in parental decisions regarding their upbringing/education/travel?

3. And since I have given up my custody, do I have a right to get it back? (As I gave it up on the grounds to facilitate her taking care of the kids school/health matters.)

Thanks,

Jason



Foreign Father's rights? Mother has 100% Child Custody

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rinso
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Re: Foreign Father's rights? Mother has 100% Child Custody

Post by rinso » Wed Apr 16, 2014 9:28 am

1- yes, she could have prevented it. But even with a 50/50 agreement you need her permission for foreign trips.
2- yes, you're a relative (who pays for child maintenance) but has no rights whatsoever apart for the agreement on visitation.
3- only if she agrees or if she is considered unfit as a parent (risk for child)

When you agreed on her having 100% custody you lost all your rights.

betelgeuse
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Re: Foreign Father's rights? Mother has 100% Child Custody

Post by betelgeuse » Wed Apr 16, 2014 11:21 am

rinso wrote:1- yes, she could have prevented it. But even with a 50/50 agreement you need her permission for foreign trips.
2- yes, you're a relative (who pays for child maintenance) but has no rights whatsoever apart for the agreement on visitation.
3- only if she agrees or if she is considered unfit as a parent (risk for child)

When you agreed on her having 100% custody you lost all your rights.
He has not lost all his rights by giving 100% custody. The agreement is not set in stone until the kids become 18.

http://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/kaannokset ... 830361.pdf
Section 12 − Amendment of agreements and decisions
An agreement confirmed by the social welfare board and a court decision on child custody and right of access may be amended, if the circumstances have changed since the confirmation of the agreement or the issue of the decision or if there is some other reason for this.
The circumstances have definitively changed. I see a fair chance that a court would allow going back tot he previous agreement. However, since the mother does not seem co-operative this most likely means having to go through the courts.

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rinso
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Re: Foreign Father's rights? Mother has 100% Child Custody

Post by rinso » Wed Apr 16, 2014 12:14 pm

The circumstances have definitively changed. I see a fair chance that a court would allow going back tot he previous agreement. However, since the mother does not seem co-operative this most likely means having to go through the courts.
As I understand it, it was a voluntary agreement between the parents, not something enforced by the court based on circumstances.
Although the court might allow a 50/50 situation, it will take some good arguments to go against the opinion of the mother. Court decisions are primary based on the welfare of the child not on the rights of the parents.

betelgeuse
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Re: Foreign Father's rights? Mother has 100% Child Custody

Post by betelgeuse » Wed Apr 16, 2014 5:11 pm

rinso wrote:
The circumstances have definitively changed. I see a fair chance that a court would allow going back tot he previous agreement. However, since the mother does not seem co-operative this most likely means having to go through the courts.
As I understand it, it was a voluntary agreement between the parents, not something enforced by the court based on circumstances.
Although the court might allow a 50/50 situation, it will take some good arguments to go against the opinion of the mother. Court decisions are primary based on the welfare of the child not on the rights of the parents.
I assume their agreement is confirmed by the social welfare board (the law says this must be done). The same section handles both court decisions and confirmed agreements.

woundedbuddy
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Re: Foreign Father's rights? Mother has 100% Child Custody

Post by woundedbuddy » Fri Apr 18, 2014 4:57 pm

I would advice that if the mother does not co-operative / show fairness on this whole situation then the option that is left here is to first find a good lawyer then go court. You don't have time to sit back and beg/ask for a favor from your x wife, there very few women out there who will be fare enough to just understand the situation for the best interest of the kids.. (Just my opinion )

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rinso
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Re: Foreign Father's rights? Mother has 100% Child Custody

Post by rinso » Fri Apr 18, 2014 5:22 pm

woundedbuddy wrote:I would advice that if the mother does not co-operative / show fairness on this whole situation then the option that is left here is to first find a good lawyer then go court. You don't have time to sit back and beg/ask for a favor from your x wife, there very few women out there who will be fare enough to just understand the situation for the best interest of the kids.. (Just my opinion )
Going to court means that the mother will not cooperate at all, she will stick to the court verdict. And after consulting with my legal contacts, I think your position is rather weak.
Think very carefully about your options and where the best results might be obtained.


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