Mother Jailed 8 Years for Child Abduction Now Released

B9316548187Z-1.1_20150314202542_000_GFTA6A1QO.1-0One of the most litigious child abduction cases may have finally come to a conclusion.

Victoria Innes was five-years-old when her mother, Marie Carrascosa kidnapped her, taking her from the United States to Spain, despite a court order that prohibited each of her battling parents from removing her from the United States without the consent of the other parent.

To buttress this order, and as a precaution, the Court also said that Victoria’s passport must be held by her mother’s lawyer and not released.

A series of unexpected events unfolded when Ms. Carrascosa changed lawyers. Her new lawyer, Madeline Marzano-Lesnevich, was unaware of the court order regarding Victoria’s passport. She released the passport to her client whereupon Ms. Carrascosa fled with Victoria to Spain, where her parents lived and where she was qualified as a lawyer.

Distraught father, Peter Innes, took immediate legal action to have Victoria returned to the State of New Jersey, obtaining an American court order for custody, however, the Spanish courts ignored the order.

Later Ms. Carrascosa returned to New Jersey without Victoria to continue the legal battle, apparently confident that the Spanish courts had jurisdiction and taking comfort in an order of the Spanish court that  barred Victoria from leaving Spain until she was 18-years-old.

But the New Jersey courts didn’t see it that way. Ms. Carrascosa was tried and sentenced in New Jersey to fourteen years in prison for contempt of court and interfering with child custody.

In the meantime, Mr. Innes launched a lawsuit against attorney Madeline Marzano-Lesnevich who was ordered to pay compensation of $950,000 to him for her negligence in releasing the passport to Ms. Carrascosa.

Typically a term of imprisonment tends to  eventually persuade an individual to comply with the law, but not in Ms. Carrascosa’s case. In her zeal to ensure her ex-husband would have no contact with Victoria she remained in prison year after year, depriving her daughter, not only of a father, but a mother as well. Victoria was in the care of her maternal grandmother in Spain.

Ms. Carrascosa’s continued defiance of the court orders and her lengthy incarceration became a legal problem for the State court who expected compliance sooner rather than later. At a hearing in 2007 appellate Judge Donald G. Collester said “She cannot be held forever. At some point in time, she will be out of jail. What are you going to do then?”

In 2014 Ms. Carrascosa received parole for the child abduction conviction but was immediately transferred to local  Bergen County jail for refusing to return Victoria to New Jersey.

It was the entreaties of her daughter to court and correctional authorities and the consent of her former husband, Mr. Innes that resulted in her final release in 2015.

Mr. Innes said:

“I know Victoria wants her mother back, and for that reason only, I support her release. I am confident that once our daughter gets to know her mother, she’ll begin to see the reality of this sad situation. It’s been 10 long years since my daughter was taken, and there’s only one thing I am sure of — no one wins in cases like this.”

No person should suffer the torment of child abduction and Peter Innes’ consent to his ex-wife’s release is proof that he understands that it should be all about what is in his daughter’s best interests, a concept that has eluded the self-centred Ms. Carrascosa.

Mr. Innes maintains a website “” and has not given up hope that one day he and his daughter will be reconciled.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

The Rain in Spain Falls Mainly on the Plain

DSC01152_2 (2)_2Marie Saward met 66-year-old British real estate tycoon, Paul Saward, on the romantic island of Majorca. After marrying in 2009, they resided in the Mediterranean port city of Alicante, Spain. But two years after their dream marriage, the romance was over with Mr. Saward vowing that his wife wouldn’t get a penny from him.

Mrs. Saward returned to England where she applied for a divorce arguing that her estranged husband’s legal residence was in the United Kingdom and thus she was entitled to have her case heard in England.

Apparently the first judge who heard her case agreed and granted her the divorce she sought, but it was a fleeting victory. Mr. Saward applied to set aside the divorce decree on the basis that the British court had no jurisdiction over him because his permanent residence was in Spain.

Mrs. Saward valiantly argued that her husband maintained personal ties and had significant real estate holdings in his home city of Southampton England. She also claimed that her ex-husband often made disparaging comments about Spain.

But to Mr. Saward’s delight, the second judge overturned the divorce decree finding that his “permanent and fixed centre of interests” were in Spain. She said:

“Although the husband may well have expressed a dislike of Spain in forceful terms on many occasions, and whilst he may have contemplated a return to the UK, he had made no concrete plans to do so.”

Judge Lesley Newton referred to a letter written by Mr. Saward in 2011 that read:

“I have no plans of ever moving back here, I could not put up with the weather … only two days left and I will be home.”

Mrs. Saward appealed the new order but was unsuccessful. Why was she so determined to have the English court preside over her divorce? Firstly, because British courts are well-known for making generous financial awards to women and secondly, the law in Spain only provides for a division of property between legal or common law spouses if the property is held jointly by the couple. Property in one party’s name is not sharable.

All the assets owned by Mr. Saward were in his name alone, leaving his wife with nothing, just as he threatened when the marriage broke down.

What about the law in Canada? Under the Divorce Act if one spouse ordinarily resides in Canada, the courts will take jurisdiction to grant a divorce and deal with property and support claims as well.

Mrs. Saward is left with nothing, but frankly, how much could she really expect after such a brief marriage. Not much.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

Lawyer Liable for $950,000 Judgment in Parental Abduction Case

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