Supreme Court to clarify international child custody dilemma

Both parents love their daughter, but they cannot agree on who should be the primary caregiver, and maybe more complicated, in what country she should reside. This situation has made for a child custody dispute that sparks international interest.

The parents fell in love in while he was stationed in Germany. Shortly after the child was born, he was deployed to Afghanistan for a 15-month tour. The parents agreed to move the wife and child to Scotland during the tour.

After a break-up and reunion, the family lived in the United States. Mother and child were separated for 10 months when the mother was deported for an expired visa. Mother and daughter left and lived overseas again after a court found the child's "habitual residence" to be Scotland.

The father wants custody and the daughter to live in the United States. He has appealed the lower court opinion regarding habitual residence.

Child custody cases regard the welfare of the child to be most important. How can a child be secure and stable moving to four countries in only a few years, and switch parental guardianship several times?

The 1980 Hague Convention's Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction attempts to assure parental rights and the laws of various countries to be honored.

This same treaty may be helping to deny the father his right to due process. The Supreme Court will decide this case soon, but they can only send it back to the lower court. This child custody case may linger, which would be good if it means justice is done but also sad as it leaves a child's sense of stability unsettled.

Source: CNN Justice, "Supreme Court to weigh girl's custody case," Bill Mears, Dec. 4, 2012


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