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U.S. Appeals Court orders return of boy from Ireland to Illinois

U.S. Appeals Court orders return of boy from Ireland to Illinois

A U.S. appellate court ruled Oct. 8 that the 6-year-old son of an Illinois woman must be returned to her from Ireland pending the outcome of further family court deliberations. In an ongoing custody battle between the parents, a lower U.S. court had ruled that the boy be sent to live in Ireland with his father. The parents, who have never been married, lived together as a couple in Ireland, the father's home country. She became pregnant with the boy in 2006 and gave birth to her son in America.

Although the birth took place in the U.S., the couple remained living in Ireland. Following relationship difficulties and a custody battle, an Irish court awarded the parents joint custody in February 2011. The mother, after promising the Irish court to return her son to that country in 2011, was allowed temporary custody of the boy and permission to travel to the U.S. for her stated purpose of settling her affairs there, but she instead remained in Illinois and initiated custody proceedings there.

The father then pursued a case in a federal court to have his son returned. The court ruled in favor of the father, and the boy was returned to Ireland. On Oct. 11, in light of the recent ruling in favor of the mother, her lawyers petitioned the court to order the boy to be returned. They will reportedly continue their battle for custody.

Parents who are facing child custody issues and reside in different countries can face multijurisdictional problems when trying to establish the physical custody of their child. An attorney may be able to explain the nuances of an international treaty known as the Hague Convention that provides a means for a parent to legally request the return of his or her child if the child is in the other parent's custody outside the U.S.

Source: Irish Central, "U.S. Appeals Court orders Irish child back to the U.S. in bitter battle for custody", October 12, 2013

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