Rachael Neustadt wins landmark ruling in Moscow Court in fight to return sons from Russia


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The Independent Online

A British-based former teacher embroiled in an international tug-of-love fight with her Russian ex-husband over custody of their two sons has won a “landmark” court ruling in Moscow, lawyers said today.

Rachael Neustadt - an American who lives in London - says ex-husband Ilya Neustadt is keeping Daniel, seven, and Jonathan, five, in Russia in breach of orders made by a judge in England following a marriage break-up

She has asked Russian judges to intervene - using a piece of international law ratified by Russia earlier this year.

And her lawyers said the Moscow City Appeal Court had recognised High Court orders made in England in a ruling delivered on Wednesday.

Solicitor Caroline Korah said she hoped that Ms Neustadt and the boys would soon be reunited.

Ms Neustadt, a 36-year-old former teacher from Houston, Texas, had asked Russian judges to order her ex-husband, Ilya Neustadt, a 37-year-old former London Metropolitan University lecturer who was born in Moscow and has dual Russian and German nationality, to return Daniel and Jonathan to England.

London law firm Dawson Cornwell, which represents Ms Neustadt, said an application had been made following Russia's ratification of an international convention relating to cross-border disputes between parents in June.

Solicitors said the boys had been visiting their father in Russia for Christmas but he had refused to return them to their mother in London in January.

Ms Neustadt began legal action and a judge sitting in the High Court in London ordered Mr Neustadt to return the boys to England - but he had not complied, solicitors said.

Lawyers said Russia ratified the 1996 Hague Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children 1996 on June 1. England joined the convention in November 2012.

They said the case was the first to make use of the 1996 Hague Convention for child abduction in England as well as in Russia.

Dawson Cornwell originally released details of the dispute in July after a Deputy High Court judge - who had analysed the dispute at hearings in London - gave Ms Neustadt permission to publicise the case.