A lawyer who mistakenly released a child’s passport to the child’s mother, contrary to a court order, has been ordered to pay $950,000 to the father of a child abducted by her client from New Jersy to Spain.
The parents of Victoria Innes, Peter Innes and Marie Carrascosa, were married in Spain in 1999 but resided in the United States. Their daughter, Victoria, was born in 2000. Their marriage ended in 2004. Victoria had both US and Spanish citizenship.
After an acrimonious dispute Victoria’s parents signed an agreement in 2004 that prohibited both parties from international travel with Victoria without the consent of the other parent. The agreement also provided that Victoria’s passport would be held in trust by Ms. Carrascosa’s lawyer.
When Ms. Carrascosa changed lawyers her file was delivered to the new lawyer, however, her new lawyer, Madeline Marzano-Lesnevich, was not aware that Victoria’s passport was to held by her and not released to her client without Mr. Innes’ consent or a court order.
Ms. Carrascosa, a lawyer in Spain, took advantage of the situation, obtained the passport from her lawyer and promptly fled to Spain where she and her daughter stayed with Victoria’s maternal grandmother. Later Ms. Carrascosa returned to New Jersey but refused to return Victoria, alleging the Spanish court had jurisdiction and would not let Victoria leave the country until she was 18-years-old.
In the meantime, Victoria’s father had obtained an American order for custody of Victoria and attempted to enforce it, to no avail. Ms. Carrascosa was charged with contempt of court and interfering with custody and was sentenced to fourteen years in prison, where she has been languishing since 2006, determined not to comply with American justice.
Despite all efforts and the involvement of Spanish/ American judicial mediators at the Hague Court in Holland, Victoria remains in Spain.
Parental abduction is the worst form of child abuse. While the Hackensack court undoubtedly meted out strict punishment, so far it has not motivated Victoria’s mother to relinquish her hold on Victoria.
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang