The focus of the court was primarily on Ms. Velozny’s argument of certain exceptions to returning the children, after it was clear that Mr. Velozny had met the burden of his case-in-chief. Ms. Velozny first argued that Mr. Velozny had consented to the children moving to New York, but this was contested by the fact that his Israeli lawyer alerted her Israeli lawyer, prior to their abduction, that the children were not to leave Israel. Furthermore, while the parties were negotiating a final marital settlement, they had not finalized the custody terms, nor was any agreement ever signed. Even if the court took the draft agreement as consent that the children relocate to New York, the children’s relocation was premised on Ms. Velozny paying certain loans on behalf of Mr. Velozny, which she never did, so the condition precedent had not occurred. Finally, Ms. Velozny acted in a manner that was so secretive, it was clear she never had Mr. Velozny’s consent. She never told him, nor the children, that they were relocating to New York.
In addition, there was no acquiescence by Mr. Velozny to the children relocating to NY. While he sent a text the day after their arrival in New York saying to, “stay there,” he vigorously pursued his legal rights after learning from the Israeli police that Ms. Velozny and the children had left Israel.
Ms. Velozny also argued that it would constitute a grave risk of harm to the children to return them, but there was insufficient evidence that any domestic altercation between the parties was anything more than occasional, and did not involve the children. Any chastisement of the one son was not considered abusive by the child, but instead related to his homework and academics. Further, even though Mr. Velozny admitted to drug use, the son never found his father’s behavior to be impacted by it, and Ms. Velozny was, per their draft agreement, willing to let the children remain with Mr. Velozny for periods of time unsupervised, which leads the court to believe she had no sincere concern about his drug use.
Finally, Ms. Velozny’s argument that the two children object to returning to Israel fails. The children had been interviewed extensively by experts. The one child had no particularized objection, and the other reported that life in Israel “was not bad.” He indicated that he was adaptable and could live anywhere.