Irish father fights for American son
The abduction of his son introduced Lawlor to the heartbreaking world of missing and exploited children. He had no idea where the boy was.
In newspapers and magazines he saw images of his own son included among the photographs of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). The experience, he says, was shattering.
“There was times I had to take down photographs of Liam on the fridge because I really thought I would never see him again. I went through a stage in my mind where it became very upsetting for me to view them. But I kept chipping away at the block, hoping that someone would give me some information on him, some way of finding him,” says Lawlor.
In May of 2007 Lawlor was granted a divorce from McAuliffe and sole custody of Liam by the Bronx Supreme Court. Later that year a judge ordered that McAuliffe produce Liam, but she ignored the request. Her parents, who live in the Bronx, were informed of each ruling, but McAuliffe’s reaction is unknown. (Attempts to contact McAuliffe before going to press were unsuccessful).
Meanwhile, Lawlor had hired a private detective and was in daily contact with international search organizations as he sought his son. On November 17 he was informed by a case manager at NCMEC who told him that Liam and McAuliffe were living in the U.K.
“My ex-wife is someone who has never bowed down to any form of authority,” says Lawlor. “She has taken Liam and dragged him though a series of new addresses in England, established a whole new life with an Albanian national, and she told Liam that her new partner was now his father.”
Lawlor filed a claim to have Liam returned to the U.S. under a ruling in the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Since the U.S. was the boy’s habitual residence, Lawlor’s representative argued for his son’s return to the jurisdiction. Lawlor’s appeal was granted on July 30, 2009.
Says Lawlor, “When an abducted child is brought back to its habitual residence, it’s original jurisdiction, you have to take all forms of precaution. There are so many laws, both federal and state, and by the time you’re done learning how they can affect you you’re nearly an attorney yourself.”
Lawlor had won full custody of his son, and now he had a ruling mandating the boy’s return to the U.S. McAuliffe, however, made an immediate appeal.
In return for Liam she asked her ex-husband to sign away his right to file any criminal charge against her. He was also asked to pay accommodation charges, to pay for airfare to the U.S. for mother and son, and to provide money for Liam.
Lawlor complied with each of these requests, but on August 3, 2009 McAuliffe did not appear with Liam as agreed. Instead she fled with the boy and her Albanian partner. A British High Court collection order was quickly filed against them, and the couple was eventually discovered in Essex.
Liam was delivered to a relative’s house in London where Lawlor picked him up on August 7, 2009. By August 8 father and son were back in the U.S.
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I applaud Mr.Conboy for his insightful commentary on a refreshingly radical Pope who gets it! The version of corrupt capitalism practiced by the Vatic62-year-old Boston priest caught with prostitute behind cemetery
Coyle should leave the priesthood, get married, and have a few kids. Punishment indeed.Gay teacher fired from Catholic school after applying for same-sex marriage license
Neglecting the hungry and aborting babies is also sinful, olovely if you were wondering.An open letter in strong defence of capitalism to Pope Francis
IC has screwed up again. Sorry Dompedro but that is my comment on Dec10,2013,0146 pm est. I wish that IC could correct these mistakes.