My ex took our 10-year-old daughter to Canada during the summer for vacation and refused to come back. I filed a Hague kidnapping case and she was recently ordered to fly our daughter home by the end of this month. I just learned that my daughter tested positive for COVID and cannot get on a flight until she tests negative. I understand she might test positive for the next three months or more. I am also worried that my ex will test positive and use that as yet another excuse not to return my daughter.
This has been such an awful ordeal and now it seems she is going to get away with her bad behavior even longer. Do I have any options?
There are always options. The best news for you is that they are only in Canada and one need not cross an ocean to get home.
First, I recommend you contact the airlines and the U.S. State Department to find out whether they in fact require a negative COVID test for flights into the U.S. for returning citizens. Although your ex is telling you this is a requirement, I am not certain she is right.
Second, you need to determine whether your daughter is actually sick and if so how sick. If she just has mild cold symptoms and has no underlying conditions, it is likely safe for her to travel after a five-day quarantine. If your ex suddenly tests positive, there is no reason you cannot fly to Canada to pick your daughter up and bring her home. Your ex is not obligated to be part of the equation. Alternatively, if there is a reason you cannot go to Canada, your daughter is old enough to fly as an unaccompanied minor.
Finally, although Canada is a big place and I do not know where in Canada your daughter is, if your ex wants to comply with the order on a timely basis and your daughter is not seriously ill, there is no reason she cannot drive home. Sure, it might be a long drive. Sure, it is winter and there will be snow in some places. But driving is a viable option to get your daughter home.
You need to decide how hard you want to press this, considering all of these various factors. Obviously, your daughter’s health and safety are your priorities and should remain at the top of your considerations. But, if it becomes a matter of convenience for your ex, do not hesitate to remind her that it was her bad behavior that landed her in this predicament in the first place. Had she returned from her vacation as planned she would not now be facing the prospect of driving your daughter home in the dead of winter or facing the music with a Canadian judge when you file a contempt action for her failure to return your daughter as ordered.
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