Daily Mail 07.11.2013

British mother loses appeal for custody of her four-year-old twins after court rules Austrian doctor ex-husband is better parent

  • Beth Schlesinger, 29, and Dr Michael Schlesinger split after eight months
  • Austrian court ruled she can only see her sons for 20 hours a fortnight
  • After an appeal European judges ruled that her husband is a ‘better parent’
  • Mrs Schlesinger says Samuel and Benjamin being ‘deprived of human rights’

By Martin Robinson

PUBLISHED: 14:32, 7 November 2013 | UPDATED: 14:51, 7 November 2013

Read this article online here.

A British woman who married a wealthy Austrian doctor has lost an appeal for custody of their four year-old twins after a court ruled he is the better parent.

Cambridge graduate Beth Schlesinger fell in love with society doctor Michael Schlesinger, but after having sons Samuel and Benjamin their marriage fell apart.

After he was given custody of their boys, the daughter of a successful Manchester solicitor has been fighting the decision for two years but has lost her latest appeal.

She had moved to Vienna to marry him despite protests from her parents and being unable to speak any German.

But, she said, the relationship began to wane after only a week and just eight months later the relationship was over.

She claims he became so controlling he would not even let her go to the toilet at night.

After they separated and started a custody battle over the children, Dr Schlesinger, 33, unsuccessfully attempted to have his wife sectioned.

His claims that she had a mental illness were dismissed in court, but an Austrian judge still took the rare step of giving him sole custody of the twins.

Mrs Schlesinger now has visitation rights but can see her sons Samuel and Benjamin for only 20 hours a fortnight.

She has accused the court of unfairly favouring her ‘well-connected’ husband and has appealed to the Austrian high court, which failed today.

She now plans to launch a final appeal with Austria’s Supreme Court and claims the her sons have started self-harming.

‘There seems to be no justice in this country, that they can deprive two little boys of their mother in such a barbaric way,’ she said.

‘It contravenes all human rights. Sammy and Benji are two vulnerable little boys who have a right to their mother in their lives.

‘Everybody involved in the story over here – from lawyers to journalists to social workers are shocked and outraged at this decision.

‘Why the Austrian justice system refuses to acknowledge that simple truth is beyond me. I only hope that sanity and justice are restored soon.’

Mrs Schlesinger is still legally married and living in Vienna where she feels ‘marooned’, fearing that by returning to the UK she will lose her chance of seeing her twins for good.

She has accused the court of ‘xenophobia’ and said her husband had benefited from friendships in the Austrian legal sector.

She said: ‘It all seemed very romantic and a big adventure, but the marriage was terrible from the beginning.

‘Looking back I realise that I never really knew Michael. I was so naive and I fell for him as he was very charming and seemed like a caring, trustworthy person. I was so wrong.’

Mr Schlesinger, 33, was unavailable for comment.



Daily Mail 07.11.2013 — 2 Comments

  1. OMG this crazy decision is horrendous. The court judged the father to be the better parent really !!!!! This is the same parent who allowed the boys teeth to be removed for no apparent medical reason, who hasn’t allowed the boys to mature ie they’re still in nappies and they can’t communicate as normal four year old boys should. This to me is the behaviour of a person who has SERIOUS mental problems and should be sectioned immediately and his medical licence revoked as he is not fit to practise medicine. There can be no other sane and rational decision other than these poor little boys must be returned to Beth as that is the best place for them to be surrounded by a loving family where they’ll progress in leaps and bounds.

  2. There has been a miscarriage of justice in the Austrian family court and the victim is a foreigner. Sadly, Beth was led up the garden path by an orthodox Jew who caused her to believe that it would be necessary to marry him rather than live on her own in Vienna. What kind of nonsense is that? Austria is not Saudi Arabia. Or Iran for that matter. If he had been honest with her, she could have lived in Vienna for long enough to have got to know him properly and would doubtless have either returned to Manchester or met someone else (she’s a delightful young woman) who was honest with and respectful towards her, unlike this control freak. The appeal decision doesn’t take the father’s personality into consideration at all, nor does it acknowledge that there was a single good reason for removing the twins from their beloved mother. When the father unjustifiably attempted to have her sectioned, using a doctor who had never met her to do so, Beth and the boys were catapulted into a series of events bordering on the ludicrous and culminating in observations by social workers from the youth welfare department to establish who was the “better” parent! Brecht’s “Caucasian Chalk Circle” method would undoubtedly have been more effective. If the father wished to divorce his young wife due to their obvious incompatibility, why did he not permit mediation, with the aim of shared custody? At this point in time, the observer can view the whole sick story as that of a vengeful man from a wealthy family who is doing his utmost to deprive his sons of a basic human right, ie to spend at least 50% of their time with their documented extremely sane mother. The judges dealing with this case should be struck off the list for ignoring so many of the facts relating to it. No mother or father is perfect and as Bruno Bettelheim explained, a “good-enough parent” is all that a child needs, not a perfect one. The authorities from the Jugendamt and family court have allowed their bias for the father to prevent them (for whatever malicious reasons) from making a fair decision.

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