International Custody Disputes

The doctrine of fugitive disentitlement bars a fugitive from seeking relief in the judicial system whose authority he or she evades, i.e. one cannot flee the country and evade a court order and simultaneously seek the court’s protection.

Justice Virginia Long (now retired from the Supreme Court and Counsel at this firm) set forth the

Actress Kelly Rutherford is back in the news as the more than six year international custody battle for her children continues its latest chapter.  The case is presently in Monaco where her children are currently residing with their father, German businessman, Daniel Giersch. From a family law perspective, this case addresses almost every issue which

The following entry was prepared by Eliana Baer, an associate in our Princeton office.

We previously blogged on the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Abbott v. Abbott, which addressed the meaning of the “right of custody” under the Hague convention. There, the Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to the extent that it ruled that it a noncustodial father who had regular visitation rights with his child, shared in the right to determine the child’s residence, which constituted a right of custody under the Hague Convention sufficient to invoke enforcement under the Hague. As to the issue of the child’s removal over international borders, however, the Supreme Court the Court did not automatically order the child’s return to Chile. Rather, the Court remanded the for a determination by the trial court. Parents from New Jersey and other states are put in similar situations on a daily basis trying to have their children returned to them from foreign nations.

One such recent case is Fuentes v. Fuentes which arose under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act ("UCCJEA"), which is a statute that determines jurisdiction in custody disputes. In Fuentes, the Father, a United States citizen, appealed from a Family Part order that registered an order of the Venezuelan Court, obtained by the Mother, a Venezuelan citizen, and ordered her to return the parties’ son, born in the United States, to Venezuela. The Mother, who was born in Columbia, and Father, a citizen of Venezuela, were married in New Jersey in June 2003. Unbeknownst to the Mother, however, at the time of the parties’ marriage, the father was still married to another woman. The parties’ son was born in September 2003. Approximately three months later, they moved to Venezuela with their child so that the Father could operate a business he owned there. Both parties maintained that the move was temporary.


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The following blog has been written by Eliana Baer, an associate of the firm resident in our Princeton office.

In our increasingly mobile society, it is no surprise that the issue of international child abduction has emerged as one of the new “hot topics” in family law.  On May 17, 2010, the United States Supreme Court issued an opinion in Abbott v. Abbott, involving different aspects of international abduction and custody. Sandra Fava, an associate in our Roseland office previously blogged about this case.

 

In Abbott, Timothy Abbott, a British citizen, and Jacquelyn Abbott, an American citizen, obtained a divorce in the Chilean courts.  Mrs. Abbott was awarded custody of their son, and Mr. Abbott was awarded visitation rights. At Mrs. Abbott’s request, the Chilean court entered an order prohibiting the child’s removal from Chile by either party without prior mutual consent. When about one year later, Mrs. Abbott removed the child to Texas without Mr. Abbott’s consent, Mr. Abbott filed suit in the Federal District Court in Texas, seeking an order requiring his son’s return to Chile under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Chile and the United States are signatories to the Hangue Convention). The district court held that the child’s removal did not constitute a breach of the father’s "rights of custody" as defined by the Hague convention. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed and an appeal was taken to the Supreme Court of the United States.


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One would have hoped that Sean Goldman’s return to the United States with father David Goldman would have been the end of this years-long international saga.  Sadly, however, that may not be the case.  News reports yesterday indicated that 9-year old Sean’s Brazilian family will fight to regain “custody” of Sean, which is interesting since

In the latest development in the ongoing international custody saga that has garnered the world’s attention and involvement from the Obama Administration, the Brazilian Supreme Court has ordered the return of 9-year old Sean Goldman to the United States.  The Court specifically concluded that the child was to be given a say in whether he stays or returns to the United

In the recently published Appellate Division decision of J.A. v. A.T., the Court faced a complicated decision regarding whether to overturn the trial court’s opinion as to which court, as between NJ and Greece had jurisdiction to decide custody of minor children.

In this complicated and seemingly tortured case’s history, where three litigations where

Judy McIntire Springer, a partner in our Philadelphia office, wrote a terrific post on litigating Hague Convention claims for the Legal Intelligencer Blog.   The link below is to the second part of her article.

The Hague Convention is an international treaty that many countries have ratified, including the United States. The treaty prohibits parents from