Zagaris International Child Abduction Return Fund
$25 raised
2 contributors
5 Years running
There is no obstacle that a parent won’t conquer to protect their child. A parent’s love is tireless and it will never admit defeat.
Unfortunately, in the world of international child abduction, parents are often drained financially by this very long ...
There is no obstacle that a parent won’t conquer to protect their child. A parent’s love is tireless and it will never admit defeat. Unfortunately, in the world of international child abduction, parents are often drained financially by this very long process. Fighting for years, these parents can often find themselves taken out of the game just when they are on the verge of reuniting with their children because they run out of money. The average salary cannot keep up with the expenses of legal assistance and travel between two countries. During the return phase, most parents get delayed in foreign lands for weeks or months as they wait for the foreign courts to finalize the process. This fund was created to aid working class parents that are left behind so they can keep battling to recover their children. The fund helps assist them financially at home and also abroad.    Our Story         Leo Zagaris is an American child who was unlawfully retained in Greece by his birth father during a court-scheduled visitation abroad. All safeguards were in place. Alissa Zagaris and Nick Zagaris had agreed on custodial rights, support and visitation. There was no dispute over physical custody. Leo was to remain in the US with his mother. The divorce was finalized in June 2009 and Leo traveled back and forth honoring the agreed upon visitation. In August 2011, Nick abruptly refused to send Leo home to Indiana at the end of the visitation. Alissa immediately contacted the US State Dept's Office of Children's Issues and began the process to file a Hague Convention hearing on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction to be held in Athens. Hamilton County, Indiana courts have complete jurisdiction over matters concerning Leo's custody and refused to relinquish jurisdiction to any court. On February 2, 2012 Hamilton County Courts drafted an order for the immediate return of the child to Noblesville, Indiana. Nick ignored this order and continues to hold Leo in Greece. On April 6, 2012, the Athens courts finally heard the case and (after 6 1/2 months) decided to honor the Hamilton County courts jurisdiction, Leo's US citizenship/permanent residency, and the custodial rights of the Mother. On Sept 25, 2012 Athens courts ordered Leo be returned home to his mom in Indiana. You would think that would be the end of this abduction problem, but it is far from resolved. The courts must also write an order of enforcement before the Alissa can travel to Greece to get her son. The courts will not order enforcement until the father has time to appeal. A new date of December 13,2012 has been scheduled for the appeal hearing. Alissa must be in Greece for this process. It may take weeks or months just for the courts to rule and issue an enforcement order so she may legally return home with her son. Now the Mother is faced with further financial challenges. More legal fees are needed for this hearing and for the court actions still to come. This is typical of the many challenges left behind parents face. Alissa Zagaris' family and friends asked her to set up a fund so they may contribute and help her along this journey to rescue Leo and bring him home. The money generated will be used to facilitate Leo's return. Any additional and future proceeds will go to aid other left behind parents in their return phase to offer the same type of financial support needed for expenses during their stay in the foreign land. Together we can get these kids home. By empowering parents, we can all be a part of the homecoming. With everyone helping we can bring all of these children home…one family reuniting at a time.
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