enero 8

The International Child Abduction Lottery

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction of 1980 (the Convention) is one of a large number of conventions signed in the Hague but it stands out as possibly the most well-known – why? Probably because it deals with the emotional and sometimes highly publicised issue of child abduction.

The Convention’s aim is to have children swiftly returned to their country of habitual residence when someone – usually a parent – takes them from, or prevents them from returning to, that country in breach of the other parent’s rights.

When the Convention was first conceived, it was expected that it would mainly prevent fathers from turning up at school gates, bundling their children into fast cars and taking them off in clouds of dust. But the last four decades have shown that the reality is very different: most abductions involve no physical violence or spiriting-away of children in the middle of the night. Instead, the typical abductor is the mother and abduction occurs when – perhaps after a stay with the children in her original home country – she can’t bear to return them to the country where they were being brought up, her relationship with the children’s father having ended.

octubre 25

Differences in Spanish/English divorces

Clients may have a choice of where to divorce.  Here we examine some of the very different procedures and possible outcomes that may arise if a couple has the right to divorce either in Spain or in England and Wales (which from now on in this blog post we’ll refer to as ‘England’).

If one spouse perceives either of these two jurisdictions as being advantageous (London being billed as the ‘divorce capital of the world’, the levels of its punchy financial orders not being seen in Spain, and Spanish courts not making the asset redistribution orders that an English court does), there may be a race to ‘get in first’, thereby ensuring that the divorce is heard in one jurisdiction as opposed to the other.  Where time is of the essence, drafting the necessary paperwork to win that race and divorce in England is likely to be a quicker process than it will be in Spain.  In England, one can launch a divorce process and follow up with the financials later;  whereas in Spain, to start a divorce, one must do all the very careful drafting (including regarding financial claims) before filing in court, this then being a brake on filing first.

abril 6

Los pilares de Europa at the CaixaForum

Christopher, Margarita & Kate enjoying some cava before the exhibition

Margarita, Kate and Christopher attended the exhibition Los pilares de Europa at CaixaForum last Thursday evening. CaixaForum is housed in a converted modernist factory at the foot of the Montjuïc hill in Barcelona, and its spacious airy halls host art exhibitions from all over the world. Run by the CaixaBank, this arts foundation shares in a 25% slice of the €510 million a year that the bank destines for good works (60% of that total feeding social projects, with the remaining 15% being invested in education and R&D).

The British Chamber of Commerce in Spain was hosting a private view of medieval art works and objects drawn from the British Museum, many of which aren’t on view in London since they’re part of the Museum’s reserve collection. This exhibition, which has already graced Madrid and remains in Barcelona until 18th June this year, draws much of its impact from the way in which it’s been located inside a soaring, church-like space with objects being placed in pools of light, and with religious music softly playing. It is an enlightening re-reading of the Middle Ages not as a dark period in history but rather as a culturally rich and sometimes underestimated one.  From table knives (forks weren’t invented till much later) to Norwegian chess pieces found buried on the Isle of Lewis, and from an exquisite brooch to a mournful Virgin drooping over her beloved Son, a feast awaits the visitor.