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Lufthansa airline and the child custody problem it created

by | Jun 29, 2017 | Custody & Visitation, Fathers' Rights, Firm News, International Custody Issues

In child custody disputes they can take many different turns in there lengthy process.  Often the parties cannot resolve there disputes in a local court and seek the help of the a foreign country.  Often this foreign county is the home country of the one of the parents. Thus an international child custody dispute emerges.

Erno Ilvyes was just such a parent here int he United States.  He and his ex got into a custody dispute and the mother took off with the child to Autria. Now it is not easy to take a child out of the country unless the other parent consents to the travel.  Usually there must be an itinary with the plane ticket stating a departure and a return date.  Apparently in Mr Ilvyes case the mother boarded the Lufthansa airline heading to Austria without the necessary requirements.  He signed no consent for her to depart abroad with his child.  Thus the mother did not return home from Austria and has since basically kidnapped the child.  There are international kidnapping laws on the books and they should assist Mr. Ilvyes however, often the host country does not sometimes cooperate with the laws. 

 It has been two years since he last saw the children his ex-wife spirited off to Austria.

Erno Ilyes filed the 108-page complaint on June 23 in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, saying the airline violated its own policy by allowing his minor children to fly internationally without a notarized letter bearing his parental consent.

Though Ilyes shared custody of his two children with his ex-wife after their divorce in 2014, the complaint says he was the one whom the court entrusted to hold onto the children’s passports.

Claudia Ilyes, the ex-wife, is not a party to the complaint, which says she kidnapped the children in July 2015. The children were 13 and 10 at the time; both have birthdays in August. 

As alleged by the father, Claudia received permission from the family court to take their children on a trip to Austria that summer to celebrate the 90th birthday of their maternal great-grandmother.

The court order stipulated, as quoted in the complaint, that Claudia was to leave the United States with the children on June 12, 2015, and return with them on July 6.

Ilyes says the trip went off as planned, with Lufthansa following its policy of requiring court documentation that permitted her to travel with the children but not their father.

When Claudia returned with the children on July 6, however, Ilyes says she signed onto the airline’s website for three new tickets that would take her and her three children back to Austria that same day.

The complaint says Claudia misrepresented the 13-year-old as an adult to avert Lufthansa’s restrictions on the purchase of air-travel tickets for unaccompanied minors.

Unaware of his ex’s actions, Ilyes says he never consented to the booking or to the travel.

“Claudia Ilyes never returned home to the United States with the children, and Erno Ilyes has not been able to find them or care for them since they departed from Newark on defendant’s airline on July 7, 2015,” the complaint states.

Lufthansa offered little comment on the allegations. “Lufthansa, and all airlines, take these matters seriously,” spokeswoman Christina Semmel said in an email. “Our sympathies go out to Mr. Ilyes during this difficult time. We cannot, however, comment on the substance of the complaint in light of the pending litigation.”