Father comes to collect daughter

  • 2008-09-24
  • By Adam Mullett and Justinas Vainilavicius
VILNIUS - German citizen Michael Rinau has arrived in Lithuania to retrieve his daughter, Luisa Rinau, after a highly publicized two-year legal battle over custody with his ex-wife, Inga Rinau.
Inga Rinau lost the battle to keep her daugher Luisa when the Lithuanian Supreme Court turned down her appeal to the ruling by the Oranienburger court in Germany.

Inga and Michael Rinau will meet in a bailiff's office in Klaipeda to discuss how to implement the court's ruling with the least harm to their daughter, Kauno Diena reported.
Michael Rinau is set to return home with his daughter. He requested a psychologist to be present during the claiming of his daughter from the mother to lessen the pain of the experience. Authorities wouldn't reveal whether the girl would be given over from mother to father on the same day.
Before the court decision, Michael Rinau said in an interview with Klaipeda daily Vakaru Ekspresas that he would cooperate with the mother.

"I would make sure that she continues learning Lithuanian and has all the possibilities to stay in touch with her brother, Inga and all other relatives who may visit her here. Of course, it would be best for Inga and her son to come back to Germany, so everyone would be near Luisa. I would make sure Luisa has a wonderful life where she can communicate with everyone she loves and is loved by," he said in January.
Laura Morkuniene, deputy director of the State Child Rights Protection and Adoption Service under the Ministry of Social Security and Labour, said the hand-over could be traumatic and that the parents should put all efforts towards the well-being of the child.

"Of course I think taking a child from the mother can cause bad things for a child. We wanted to solve the problem to have a good resolution for the child. The solution needs to be in the best interests of the child," she said.

Inga Rinau, however, hopes to talk her former spouse into leaving the girl with her mother and brother.
"I will try to break the ice in one way or another and reach an agreement on how the father will be able to spend time with his daughter. I am determined to take her to Germany myself and stay there as long as will be necessary and make all the conditions for them to communicate in Lithuania. My most passionate desire is that the child doesn't experience the horror of separating from her loved ones. I have hopes that the father will resign, out of love for his daughter, the intentions of taking her away from an environment she's accustomed to," Inga Rinau said.

Morkuniene said that although necessary by law, removing Luisa from the mother would have negative effects on her well-being.
"The parents should make every effort to stay close to the child because she has only been with the mother for the last two years and she doesn't understand the reasons behind this 's she doesn't know the laws," she said.

Throughout the saga, politicians have hijacked the issue and promoted their own agenda by stating their opinion.
"I listen to the politicians who say I can come live in Lithuania, a country where I was made inhuman by political campaigns," Michael Rinau said.
"Obviously, everyone has the right to talk about childs', mothers' and fathers' rights, but clearly defending fathers' rights doesn't seem to have the same appeal as defending mothers' rights during election campaign," he added.

Morkuniene said this media attention would not benefit Luisa.
"It is hard to say what Luisa will feel when she is able to read what is in the media, but it was not good to put this matter into the media and let people see the family matters," Morkuniene said.
Following the court decision in Lithuania, Inga Rinau made public her plans to become a politician.
"I have read that Inga has political ambitions. I am not surprised at that. During the process on my daughter, Lithuania crossed a lot of lines, so maybe a seat in Parliament would be a perfect place for her to be," Michael Rinau said.

The decision of the Lithuanian Supreme court is final and cannot be appealed.