The Manely Firm, P.C. Announces U.S. Court of Appeals to Hear International Child Custody Dispute

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Supreme Court Orders 11th Circuit to Review District Court Order Permitting Removal of American Child Abroad

On Friday, November 22, 2013, Georgia Family Law Attorney, Michael Manely will argue before the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit for the return of Army Sergeant First Class Jeffery Chafin’s daughter from Scotland. Chafin’s daughter was removed to Scotland in October 2011 after a federal district judge permitted the child’s removal. The Court will hear oral argument for 11-15355 Lynne Hales Chafin v. Jeffrey Lee Chafin, Appellant, in Montgomery, Alabama, Courtroom 405, Frank M. Johnson, Jr. United States Courthouse, One Church Street (entrance at 15 Lee Street). Court convenes at 9:00am.

Chafin appealed to Eleventh Circuit Court in November 2011. The Court then ruled that the case was moot because the child was no longer in The United States. On February 19, 2013 Manely took the case to The United States Supreme Court who unanimously overruled the Eleventh Circuit decision. The Supreme Court said the United States court system doesn't lose jurisdiction in international custody disputes simply because the child involved is no longer in the country.

"The U.S. Supreme court found such return does not render this case moot; there is a live dispute between the parties over where their child will be raised, and there is a possibility of effectual relief for the prevailing parent," said Attorney Manely.

According to court documentation, the Chafins married in Scotland in 2006; their daughter was born in 2007. The family lived in Germany until Chafin was deployed to Afghanistan at which time mother and daughter moved to Scotland. Upon completion of his tour of duty, Chafin transferred to Alabama in 2009, and was joined by his family the following year. The Chafins agreed to divorce in 2010, and Lynne Chafin was deported in February 2011. She sued to take her child with her, citing the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which is designed to return children illegally taken from member countries. A federal judge agreed, and permitted the child to be taken to Scotland. The judge also refused to stay the order. The mother and child boarded a plane and left the country. Sergeant First Class Chafin is currently stationed at Ft. Stewart, Georgia, near Savannah.

The Manely Firm has five locations in and around metro Atlanta and specializes in all forms of family law both domestic and international.

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Shelia Manely
The Manely Firm
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