Attorney Sandro Monteblanco’s International Fight to Reunite Abducted Children with Their Mother

By Stephen Furnari - May 16, 2024
Attorney Sandro Monteblanco’s International Fight to Reunite Abducted Children with Their Mother

International lawyer, Sandro Monteblanco, orchestrated a four-year, multi-country legal pursuit to reunite abducted children with their American mother in contentious cross-border custody dispute.

This article was part of a series featuring “Big Wins” for some of Law Firm Suites members that included a $350 settlement against the U.S. Postal Service for harassment, a piece about a Russian couple who got a fresh start in the U.S. after being persecuted for their anti-war beliefs and this story. 

As if a divorce and custody proceedings aren’t challenging enough, imagine that your foreign national ex abducts your children, removes them from the country to dodge U.S. laws and it takes nearly four years to get your kids back. Such was the case for a client of Sandro Monteblanco, an attorney whose practice areas include international child abduction cases.

A Father Abducts His Children and Takes Them to Spain

Monteblanco’s firm, the Monteblanco Law Group, represented the wife in divorce proceedings initiated in New York. The wife is a native New Yorker, her ex-husband is a Spaniard, and their two children, who were seven and 10 at the time of filing, have multiple citizenships, including in the U.S. and Spain.  

In initial court hearings, the wife was given custody of the two children and the court awarded the husband a visitation plan.

According to Monteblanco, the husband was angry with the results of the preliminary custody decision and, without permission from his wife and in contravention of a New York court order forbidding the children to be taken out of the State, he boarded a red-eye to Madrid with the children and continued on to Marbella, a seaside town in the South of Spain where his family had a second home.

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Quick Action Taken by Counsel

The distraught wife contacted Monteblanco about the abduction, who immediately filed an International Restitution of a Minor, which is a case that is tried under a treaty known as the Civil Aspects on International Child Abduction under The Hague Convention. Both the U.S. and Spain are members of the treaty.  

According to Monteblanco, child abduction cases can easily take five to eight years to resolve. They must first reach the highest court of the country where the child was abducted, then a return order can be granted. Worse, under the treaty, the order can only be enforced if the child is under the age of 16, which in this case would be a close call for the eldest child. 


The Father Games the System, Monteblanco Pivots 

According to Monteblanco, the husband gamed the system by continuously traveling with the children between Spain, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Each time the husband traveled, Monteblanco’s case would be dismissed for jurisdictional reasons. 

This continued for a period of three years.  “The father kept crossing from Spain to the UK and to the Netherlands – not to avoid justice – but rather to stay the case based on lack of jurisdiction,” said Monteblanco.

Frustrated, Monteblanco changed strategies and filed individual abduction charges that were outside of the treaty. Monteblanco filed these charges in the U.S. and Spain (where both boys have citizenship), and for the oldest boy in the UK where he was born and had citizenship, and for the youngest boy in the Netherlands where he was born and had citizenship. 

Monteblanco was able to get an international travel ban for each child in all countries where they were citizens. In the event the children traveled internationally, upon entry into a country with a ban, immigration authorities would retain the child and bring in children’s services in to evaluate the case.

Additionally, Monteblanco filed an Exequatur, which is an international recognition of a foreign sentence or court order. He did this in each country where the child was a citizen outside of the U.S. In the event the children were retained by immigration authorities, the wife could fly in with her New York court order and exert her custodial right to the child as sole caretaker.

A Break in the Case Leads to Reunion

In April 2024, there was a break in the case. The husband left Spain with both children for London. The eldest child, who was now 14 and a citizen of the U.K., was retained at Heathrow and prohibited from leaving pursuant to charges filed by Monteblanco’s firm.  

Ill-advised by counsel, the husband abandoned his oldest son in London and immediately headed to Amsterdam where he believed they’d be in a child abduction sanctuary country

According to Monteblanco, upon entry to Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, authorities were brought in and the younger child, who was a citizen of the Netherlands, was taken from the father and placed in temporary housing. 

Monteblanco’s client was reunited with her oldest son within eight hours after being informed of his detention at Heathrow and, soon after, both were reunited with the youngest son in Amsterdam.

A Good Outcome, With Lasting Consequences

While this was a great outcome for his client in terms of reuniting abducted children with their mother, the trauma experienced by the children weighs heavy on Monteblanco. “The children had undergone years of parental alienation, not to mention being deprived of a stable home environment,” said Monteblanco.

Following the reunion, Monteblanco’s Madrid office initiated criminal proceedings in Spain against the father for endangerment and criminal abduction. Attorneys in Monteblanco’s London office are also evaluating a legal course of action to be undertaken there. 

Attorneys in Monteblanco’s New York office advised the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services about the matter in hopes of having the husbands’ permanent residency status be revoked for having been involved in the abduction and retention of two American citizens. 

According to Monteblanco, the children are now back home with the mother. “We are proud of what was accomplished,” says Monteblanco.

About Sandro Monteblanco and Monteblanco Law Group

At the turn of the millennia, attorney Sandro Monteblanco launched a small law boutique law firm with two objectives in mind; to cater to an international clientele and to provide a one-on-one personalized service to them. 

Fast-forward two decades, the Monteblanco Law Group now has four offices in New York, Lima, London and Madrid. MLG is internationally recognized for their work in international law, it has over two dozen collaborators, and yet they still maintain the one-on-one personalized service with their clients who are located in 47 countries and growing. Their practice is focused on international family, corporate and criminal law.

Sandro Monteblanco is a valued member of the Law Firm Suites community in our NYC Financial District location, where Monteblanco Law Group’s American law office is located. 

How to Get in Touch with Sandro Monteblanco

Sandro Monteblanco, Esq.

Monteblanco Law Group

Tel: (212) 480-4147

[email protected]


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About Stephen Furnari

Stephen Furnari is a self-employed corporate attorney and the founder of Law Firm Suites, the operator of coworking spaces for law firms. Through Law Firm Suites, Furnari has helped hundreds of attorneys launch and grow successful law practices. He is the author of several eBooks, including “7 Deadly Mistakes that Prevent Law Practice Success” and “An Insider’s Guide to Renting the Perfect Law Office”. Stephen has been featured in the ABA Journal, Entrepreneur, New York Daily News and Crain’s New York. Connect with Stephen on Twitter (@stephenfurnari).

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