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Travel back home for expats - what's typical?

  1. #17
    MommyTo3 is offline Registered User
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    I travel back to Europe every summer only for 5 weeks with 3 kids. I work pt at a school so during the holidays it's easy. My husband usually comes for a week so I fly one way by myself. He thinks it's boring but is not able to go longer (although this year he will come longer finally) because of work. However, he's supportive and happy for us to have a chance to meet family, escape the heat, etc.

  2. #18
    MommyTo3 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmyH View Post
    I go back once a year and take both kids with me. I have family in Ireland and my husband's family is in England so I go to both. I couldn't only do two weeks though because it would mean only a week in each country which is too hard for me and the kids. I tend to go for about a month. Sometimes my husband joins us for two weeks but not always possible with his work.
    My husband misses the children when we are away but that is where skype comes in handy! He usually talks to them every second or third day on skype for a while and catches up with them. He has to travel quite a bit with his job too so he normally schedules his work travel while we are away so he can spend more time with us when we return.
    The issue we face is the fact that we don't really get a "family holiday" every year because we feel that we have to travel back to our home countries and my husband does not get that much time off work.
    I don't think I could go two years without seeing my family and friends back home so it is a sacrifice worth making for now. We do tend to travel around asia for short trips (three or four days at a time) so we can have a holiday.
    That's basically what we do. We save his days here to do trips as a family in Asia. My family comes here too as well, so we're lucky in that respect.

  3. #19
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by rebekah View Post
    Where on earth are you from?! or do you mean round trip? Our flight is 15 hours each way, plus driving time if we visit family, but 30 hours?!?!? wow.
    There are no direct flights to my home place and because of financial things we usually have to take a flight with layovers internationally as well. So, the in-air flight time turns out to be about 18 hours because the flight from HK to the US West Coast is about 15 hours but then I have another 3 hours of flights to take--but I have an additional two layovers inside the US and usually at least 1-2 layovers outside of the US. The layover times vary. I've had really long layovers (20+ hours) but usually layovers are around 4-8 hours long. That's why it takes so long to get back.
    “Many women have described their experiences of childbirth as being associated with a
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  4. #20
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    erina320 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2010-NewDad View Post
    I see you are answering quite a different question to the one that has been asked in this thread. You might be right, I have no idea how much NewMommie's position has changed in the last couple of years. I know children are life changing events so I wouldn't discount the possibility her thoughts have changed.....

    ... that said, if you are seriously suggesting she get ready to rip the family apart and kidnap her children away from their father then I can only react with abject disgust. How many mothers would feel the same way if the father was contemplating leaving without a word and kidnapping the children and forcing the mother to go through the courts (in Hong Kong and the US) to have any chance of access.

    Would you still be advising him to stop any negotiations, stopping any discussions with his spouse and silently make plans to facilitate this act which is both illegal and morally abhorrent?

    My view is that this action would be an abrogation of your rights as a parent, a spouse, an adult and as a responsible human being. Marriages do end, and it is normally a messy affair which is unpleasant for everyone, especially children. I do think that parents have a responsibility to try to do everything to save their marriage and when those options fail to do everything to make the change less traumatic and less impact on the children.

    Kidnapping them to a foreign country before even trying a marriage counsellor or discussing it with your spouse isn't a responsible path of action, and I couldn't condone it or stand to see it condoned under any circumstances.
    I agree with NewDad here encouraging someone to prepare for a hostile takeover in this manner is deplorable. Children are involved and matters of a divorce should be settled here in Hong Kong and legally. A broken family is hard enough on children to add to it deception, kidnapping, and fleeing would only add to their pain and confusion.

    Not to mention illegal and I can only imagine such actions would demage any chance of winning a custody battle.

  5. #21
    penguinsix is offline Registered User
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    I'm not really sure which way this thread is going, so let me address a couple of points on both issues.

    Americans often need to be wary of the 35 day rule, which can drastically affect their income taxes. If a US citizen or resident is in the USA > 35 days, then there eligibility for the Foreign Earned Income and Foreign Housing credits can be eliminated, costing tens of thousands of US dollars in US taxes. It's something that some Americans need to watch out for, especially those who set foot in the US every now and then on business or a vacation or whatnot.

    And with regards to travel time, our flights back to the USA are easily 24-30 hours door to door. One transfer, time to get to the airports, customs and immigration, rental cars, drive home, etc. Easily 24-30 to a place like Washington DC which doesn't have that many direct flights from HKG.

    Now, as for the more distressing issue, that of child abduction, it is very VERY important to note that the US and Hong Kong are both signatories to the Hague Convention on Child Abductions. I agree with others on the ethical argument that you should not just split with the kids, and I would also advise you that from a legal standpoint you might be setting yourself up for even bigger problems.

    If this is something you are considering, you should definitely speak to some professionals in the legal community before making a big mistake.

    http://travel.state.gov/abduction/co...untry_495.html

    One of the core elements of that treaty is that child abduction cases are heard in the country of "habitual residence" of the child. Legal cases will not be handled in the courts of one country simply because one parent is in that country, or even if those children happen to have US passports. The issue is 'habitual residence'--where the kids are normally residing, and I think if you have been here for a few years (and/or if the kids were born here) the father would have a very strong case to say their habitual residence is Hong Kong.

    That means if you flee with the kids, he need only file a motion to return the children to the country of their habitual residence BEFORE the issues of custody are determined. The kids will be taken from you and put back on a plane to Hong Kong for a child custody hearing, and the fact that you were willing to take them away without a clear legal right will be a huge black mark against you in the long term child custody arrangement.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hague_C...hild_Abduction

    Here are some relevant bits from that:

    Procedural nature

    The Convention provides that the court in which a Hague Convention action is filed should not consider the merits of any underlying child custody dispute, but should determine only that country in which those issues should be heard. Return of the child is to the member nation rather than specifically to the left-behind parent.

    The Convention mandates return of any child who was a “habitual resident” in a contracting nation immediately before an action that constitutes a breach of custody or access rights. The Convention provides that all Contracting States, as well as any judicial and administrative bodies of those Contracting States, “shall act expeditiously in all proceedings seeking the return of a children” and that those institutions shall use the most expeditious procedures available to the end that final decision be made within six weeks from the date of commencement of the proceedings.

    Wrongful removal or retention

    The Convention provides that the removal or retention of a child is “wrongful” whenever:

    "a. It is in breach of rights of custody attributed to a person, an institution or any other body, either jointly or alone, under the law of the State in which the child was habitually resident immediately before the removal or retention; and

    "b. at the time of removal or retention those rights were actually exercised, either jointly or alone, or would have been so exercised but for the removal or retention." These rights of custody may arise by operation of law or by reason of a judicial or administrative decision, or by reason of an agreement having legal effect under the law of the country of habitual residence.

    "From the Convention's standpoint, the removal of a child by one of the joint holders without the consent of the other, is . . . wrongful, and this wrongfulness derives in this particular case, not from some action in breach of a particular law, but from the fact that such action has disregarded the rights of the other parent which are also protected by law, and has interfered with their normal exercise."

    Habitual residence

    The Convention mandates return of any child who was “habitually resident” in a contracting nation immediately before an action that constitutes a breach of custody or access rights. The Convention does not define the term “habitual residence,” but it is not intended to be a technical term. Instead, courts should broadly read the term in the context of the Convention’s purpose to discourage unilateral removal of a child from that place in which the child lived when removed or retained, which should generally be understood as the child’s “ordinary residence.” The child’s “habitual residence” is not determined after the incident alleged to constitute a wrongful removal or retention. A parent cannot unilaterally create a new habitual residence by wrongfully removing or sequestering a child. Because the determination of “habitual residence” is primarily a “fact based” determination and not one which is encumbered by legal technicalities, the court must look at those facts, the shared intentions of the parties, the history of the children’s location and the settled nature of the family prior to the facts giving rise to the request for return.

    I also found this in a law review article:

    "The Convention does not define habitual residence. Instead, the Convention deliberately left habitual residenc undefined in order to leave the notion free from technical rules which can produce rigidity and inconsistencies as between different legal systems. In doing so, the Convention sought to prevent habitual residence from acquiring an overly technical or idiosyncratic definition comparable to the notion of domicile."

    more here: http://law.wustl.edu/journal/33/Winter.pdf
    Last edited by penguinsix; 01-25-2012 at 04:27 PM.
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  6. #22
    MommieMid is offline Registered User
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    This distressed mother, whose husbands' near-miss of smothering their baby, and then rolling over on it intoxicated, just this last summer, is at her wits end.
    Instead of confiding in her friends, she comes to this forum for help and support on how she can possibly be allowed to visit her parents. Her husband won't let her go.

    She is desperate for the break from Hong Kong and naturally wishes to be with her new baby and toddler, rather than leave them with her helpers. Something I would never even contemplate. Why would she ever leave her children with helpers?

    She wants to visit her parents and uncle in her home state, within the United States. She asks you for help, as she has no one else to turn to in confidential privacy.
    Her husband, a US citizen, who is also a lawyer, knows exactly her views on their marriage, and the fact that she feels trapped her in an environment which is alien to her. She doesn't even speak the language, despite having chinese ethnicity.
    No one suggested kidnapping. Such an emotive word to describe a mother taking her children home to visit their grandparents. A normal part of expat life. Most expat moms, the world over, spend two or three months in their home town, each summer.
    Suggestions of personal counselling here in Hong Kong and quiet contemplation, no more arguing or distressing power inflictions, were the most significant actions which were recommended. This mother is desperately trying to hold her family together, because she loves her children and her dominant husband, despite his after-work socialising and occasional antisocial behavoir. However, her husband does not even allow her to return to their home country for a visit without him, despite his own regular business trips, leaving her alone with children and helpers.
    The suggestion of her saving money is for her to feel empowered, as it is clear from her previous posts which need reviewing by the posters here, that she feels disempowered and reliant on behaving as a dependant. How can she visit home when she can't even spend money on nappies, without asking her husband for permission?

    If anyone feels that this mother should be forbidden to visit the US, then this is what her question was, and her question should be answered clearly.
    I can only support her autonomy. As a Mom, who is deeply reliant on my own husband's decisions, I know exactly the feeling of having to conform to the voice of the power within the home.
    My suggestion was that if she decides goes to the US on a holiday with her children to visit her Mom, a normal expectation which is being denied to her, then she needs to be sure that she can deal with him being annoyed with her. If he really is as detaining and domineering as he sounds, then she needs to be prepared for this.
    I am a supporter of women and their ability to determine their own futures, within a supportive married, family life. I say this within a context of being an expat Mom, here despite the fact that it is not my home and knowing that we are unwelcome visitors in this territory.
    Last edited by MommieMid; 01-25-2012 at 09:08 PM.

  7. #23
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    no one is saying that she shouldn't visit the usa. your post made it sound like you were counselling her to quietly prepare to kidnap the children.... maybe reread your previous posting. it does sound that way. it was what i thought when i first read it and obviously i'm not the only one that thought so.

    ps> what makes you think you are "unwelcome visitors" in this territory? i've been here 17 years and have never felt unwelcome.

  8. #24
    howardcoombs is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by MommieMid View Post
    If anyone feels that this mother should be forbidden to visit the US, then this is what her question was, and her question should be answered clearly.
    I'll be very clear - no parent (unless there is danger to children) should take the kids outside of the country without the permission/agreement of the other parent. Do do so can be interpreted as kidnapping.

    I can only support her autonomy.
    Its a 2 parent family, where do you get this "autonomy" from?

    My suggestion was that if she decides goes to the US on a holiday with her children to visit her Mom, a normal expectation which is being denied to her, then she needs to be sure that she can deal with him being annoyed with her. If he really is as detaining and domineering as he sounds, then she needs to be prepared for this.
    The paragraph above and the paragraph below dont jibe
    I suggest that you stop negotiating with your husband or discussing any move. You need to silently make your own plans, save money and make the visit to the US with your children, when you are absolutely ready for all eventualities, and the changes which will come in your life. You are going to have to be incredibly ready for anything.
    You need to be absolutely sure that what you are working towards is what you want, above all else, and you need to act on what is in your heart.
    While you should be telling her that it takes 2 to make decisions, work things out etc etc, you are telling her to stop discussing, stop negotiating and act unilaterally and take the kids away without agreement. This is plain old kidnapping, nothing less. If you need a refresher on definition here is one:
    http://definitions.uslegal.com/p/parental-kidnapping/

    I am a supporter of women and their ability to determine their own futures, within a supportive married, family life. I say this within a context of being an expat Mom, here despite the fact that it is not my home and knowing that we are unwelcome visitors in this territory.
    The woman in question has 2 kids in a marriage. While she may freely determine her own future, she may not (without agreement, consent or court order) determine the future of children on her own.

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