International custody dispute headed for high court

Judge accuses Dane of kidnapping his son, but court rules boy does not need to be returned to his mother in Austria

January 2nd, 2013 1:30 pm| by admin

The mother of a half-Danish, half-Austrian boy caught up in an international custody battle has decided to ask the Eastern High Court to overturn a municipal court ruling that would allow the boy’s father to retain custody in Denmark.

“Of course I will not accept the decision, and I will seek to appeal the decision to the Danish High Court,” Marion Weilharter wrote in a press release.

The highly publicised custody case involving six-year-old Oliver added another chapter in late December, when the Helsingør Municipal Court ruled that the boy should be permitted to live with his father, Thomas Sørensen, in Denmark.

After splitting up with Sørensen, Weilharter moved to her native Austria with Oliver in 2010, and while an Austrian court granted her sole custody of the boy, a Danish court granted sole custody to Sørensen. After on-going legal wrangling, the case took a dramatic turn in April of this year when Sørensen drove to Graz, Austria, and took Oliver back to Denmark against Weilharter’s will. 

Sørensen was later sentenced to a 12-month suspended prison sentence by an Austrian court for kidnapping.

Weilharter could very well have a good case in Denmark sould her request be taken up. Although the municipal court ruled against Oliver returning to Austria, one of the three presiding judges did not agree with the verdict, maintaining that the boy had been kidnapped by his father and should be returned to Austria.

Weilharter lashed out at the court for sanctioning “kidnapping”.

“I cannot accept this. Will Europe accept it? This means that we must all fear that Danish citizens come to our country and ‘take’ our children – it can happen to anyone,” Weilharter wrote.

Sørensen, according to a spokesperson, was elated by the December ruling, but said he was concerned that he might not be able to retain custody. 

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