When a child is abducted by one parent and taken to another country,
the Hague convention, an international treaty, ensures the child is returned home.
In an international custody case, the Supreme Court is expected to decide how habitual residence should be determined under the Hague Convention. (Source: Gray DC)
But, who decides where ‘home’ is? What if the child is too young to have acclimated anywhere?
That’s what attorney Andrew Zashin hopes the Supreme Court will clarify on Wednesday.
“There’s no consistent definition of what habitual residence means under the Hague Convention,” said Zashin.
Zashin’s client, Michelle Monasky is a U.S citizen. She moved to Italy, married Italian citizen Domenico Taglieri, and together they had a child. Monasky claimed Taglieri had repeatedly assaulted her, so she fled with the eight-week-old child to Ohio.
However, Taglierei asked a federal court to return the child and the court complied, determining that Italy is the baby’s legal home.
“The only stability the eight-week-old has in terms of acclimatization is with its mother,” said Zashin.
Zashin argues the baby isn’t old enough to develop a stable home overseas and wants the child to be returned to the U.S.
On the other hand, John Sayer, Taglieri’s lawyer, says the United States shouldn’t be deciding custody, since the child has only lived in Italy
“We argue that Italy was the habitual residence, therefore Italy decides the custody,” said Sayer.
Sayer hopes the Supreme Court will agree with the lower courts and that a custody case that’s lasted years will come to an end.
As for the assault claims, Sayre says spousal abuse is not a factor in deciding cases under the Hague convention. But, he’s sure the topic surrounding his clients behavior will come up in the courtroom.
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