Supreme Court to Determine American Parents' Rights to Retrieve Children Wrongfully Abducted or Retained Abroad

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International Family Law Attorney Michael Manely appeals to U.S. Supreme Court to determine all American parents' rights to obtain a court order for the return of children abducted or wrongfully retained abroad. Manely's client, U.S. Army Sergeant 1st Class Jeff Chafin, who served his country in Iraq and Afghanistan, turns now to his country to protect his parental rights.

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abductions provides the mechnamism International Family Law Attorney Michael Manely uses to retrieve children from foriegn countries.

International Family Law Attorney Michael Manely

Rendering U.S. Courts powerless to order the return of American children would encourage abduction and retention abroad which the Hague Convention on Child Abduction is intended to prevent.

On December 5, 2012, The Supreme Court of the United States will hear oral argument in Chafin v. Chafin, No. 11- 1347, to determine if Federal Courts may order the return of a child abducted or wrongfully retained abroad. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, Atlanta, GA, held in Bekier v. Bekier, 248 F. 3d 1051 (11th Cir. 2001) that Federal Courts lack jurisdiction to issue such an order once the child is taken from U.S. soil.

On February 6, 2012 the same court denied Sergeant 1st Class Chafin’s request to review a Federal District Court decision allowing his four year old daughter to be taken by his estranged wife to Scotland. The Eleventh Circuit Court held that even if the District Court had erred, they were powerless to issue a return order because the child was no longer in The U.S.

Other Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal disagree, citing the provisions set forth by The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and The Federal International Child Abduction and Retention Act. The Supreme Court of The United States granted Chafin’s Petition for Writ of Certiorari to resolve the split. Chafin’s international family law attorney, Michael E. Manely, points out that rendering U.S. Courts powerless to order the return of American children would encourage abduction and retention abroad which the Hague Convention on Child Abduction is intended to prevent.

Chafin's daughter was turned over to her Scottish mother by a lower Federal District Court. Attorney Manely explains that the lower court denied his request for a stay and within two hours Chafin's daughter was taken out of the country by her mother, a woman she hadn’t seen in a year. Chafin says even though he served in Iraq and Afghanistan, he has never feared anything more than losing the opportunity to parent his daughter. He is looking to the U.S. Courts to protect his parental rights.

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Shelia Manely
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