They call themselves "stuck mums". Women everywhere stranded abroad and not able to return home with their children, or worse still, separated from their children altogether.

In the wake of the botched 'retrieval' of Sally Faulkner's children in Lebanon (abetted by 60 Minutes and Tara Brown) The Weekly Online has spoken to women across the country fighting to be united with their children.

After all, at the heart of the 60 Minutes debacle is a domestic dispute between a mother and a father.

Like all domestic disputes, it is a difficult situation. It has been complicated further by the toing and froing of the Faulkner children between Australia and Lebanon, a country that lies outside of the Hague Convention.

The Hague Convention is a piece of legislation from the 1980's that stipulates one parent can not take a child from its habitual residence without the permission of the other parent, and that any disputes are settled in the family court of that county.

However, the law doesn't define what constitutes a habitual residence. This means that families who travel overseas temporarily also need to comply with it. And while it may not be an issue when all is rosy, it can be an absolute nightmare when relationships break down.

Emma Daniels* is a 'stuck mum'.

The 38-year-old from WA relocated to the US in 2013 with her family because her husband was offered a good work opportunity.

But when her marriage broke down, she found herself living a nightmare.

Cut off financially and unable to work due to visa restrictions she decided to return to Australia with her two daughters.

But despite Emma being an Australian citizen and the primary carer of her children, the Australian family courts have sided with her ex-husband.

This means that she has no choice but to return to the states with her children, where she risks prosecution for abduction.

"The Australian government is sending me, an Australian, back to the states to live in poverty with my daughters.

"This means that the court over there will take my children from their mother, because they will look at who can provide a better quality of life for the children. In Australia I can do that, but I can't in America," she explains.

Kate Lawson* also shared her heart-breaking story.

"I am a British citizen, and came to Australia with my British partner (now my ex) and our daughter. None of us have Australian residency and it was never our intention to remain in Australia on a permanent basis," she explains.

But when Kate and her ex separated, the Hague Convention meant that despite coming to Australia temporarily, she would need permission from her ex to leave the country with their daughter.

"I'm forced to stay in Australia because my ex wants to stay here," she says.

Kate's situation is desperate. Despite not being permitted to leave she is not entitled to Australian residency. This means that she can't access benefits or legal aid.

"I have a long term chronic illness and unable to work and cannot support myself and my daughter financially. [My ex] refuses to pay child support. I receive court ordered spousal maintenance but the amount is minimal compared to my actual expenses and [he] is in arrears with his payments.

"The order for maintenance expires next year, at which point I will have no income at all. I have to rely on charity for additional financial support and I am at risk of losing my rented accommodation," explains Kate.

Like other 'stuck mums' Kate is in a desperately hard situation. If she takes her daughter back to the UK without permission she could be prosecuted for abduction.

It sounds like an absurd situation – and it not what the Hague Convention was designed for. But due to the increase in families moving abroad for work, situations like Kate and Emma's have become all too common.

Tara Brown and 60 Minutes crew were released from Beirut detention last week.

Global ARRK (Action on Relocation and Return with Kids) is a grassroots organisation that offers advice and support to 'stuck mums'. They say that the problem is "widespread".

"Being 'stuck' in a foreign country is tough – being a single mum is hard enough in your own country with family and friends to prop you up. But living thousands of miles from that support and possibly without income from employment can be devastating.

"Right now there are mums squatting in empty houses, living in caravans and sleeping on neighbour's floors just because they are too poor to stay in that foreign country but can't bear to lose their children. It's heart-breaking."

Kate Lawson has every sympathy with Sally Faulkner, "As a mother I can fully understand the desperate measures [Sally Faulkner] took to try to get her children back," she says.

"But if it raises awareness of these issues then at least some good will come out of it."

*Names have been changed for legal reasons