Judges back US father in child access rights dispute with Hungary

Human rights judges have backed an American father in his child access rights dispute with Hungary.

In its judgement published today, the European Court of Human Rights awarded Gary Prizzia more than €22,000.

Prizzia v. Hungary (application no. 20255/12)

The applicant, Gary Prizzia, is a national of the United States of America who was born in 1962 and lives in Glen Allen (Virginia, USA). The case concerned visiting rights to his son, born in 2000, following his divorce from his Hungarian wife.

The family lived in Virginia, USA, until 2003 when Prizzia’s former wife went to Hungary with their son and, instituting divorce proceedings, did not return. The divorce was pronounced in 2005 and custody awarded to the mother. Relying in particular on Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights, Prizzia complained about the ensuing non-enforcement of final judgments concerning his access rights, which notably had granted him the right to take his son to the USA during the summer holidays.

He complained in particular that his former wife had refused to comply with these judgments despite being ordered to pay fines and that, as a result, his son had become alienated from him and reluctant to meet him.

Due to this situation, the Hungarian courts then modified his access rights in May 2011, limiting them to summer holidays in Hungary until his son’s 16th birthday.

Violation of Article 8

Just satisfaction: EUR 12,500 (non-pecuniary damage) and EUR 10,000 (costs and expenses).

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