Custody cases are difficult at the best of times, but when international law is part of the case, they become even more difficult. That’s what’s going on in this case with an American mother and Italian child.
The child was born in Italy, but the mother fled with her due to alleged abuse. An Italian court ruled that the woman had to return the child to the father in Italy.
The story goes on to explain that the Hague Convention of 1980 has been used, but the father of the child states that the international treaty shows that the habitual residence of the child should be Italy.
United States Supreme Court justices have tried to decide where the case should really be heard in the United States. The court has to decide if it agrees with the mother or father, if the child should be returned to the United States and how to determine the child’s habitual residence.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was one of few judges who showed sympathy toward the mother’s case, stating that the case was particularly troublesome because it involved a woman allegedly fleeing from domestic violence with her child. She posed the question of whether it was truly fair to ask a woman fleeing violence to leave her child behind.
Presently, both parents have rights to see the child in Italy, but the distance poses a significant problem in using those rights, especially when considering the possible past of domestic violence.
Cases such as this are particularly difficult to resolve. If you face an international custody problem, make sure you get the right support as soon as possible.