Always keep in a safe place… especially if there’s a chance the holder might be abducted.

[The TL;DR of this post: get in touch with Melissa Kucinski for help in international abduction cases.]

Well over two years ago, in “The Hague Child Abduction Convention applies first” I posted a bit about that Convention’s primacy when a lawyer calls me for help in serving process in custody actions.  Where a parent has taken his/her child(ren) abroad contrary to the other parent’s wishes, or wrongfully retained the child(ren) abroad, merely pursuing a custody order in the U.S. is rarely the right first step. 
Continue Reading The Hague Child Abduction Convention: who to call

Two white whales are the subject of my Captain Ahab diatribes in this space.  One concerns an issue of cross-border civil procedure, while the other concerns a rather goofy* interpretation of what the rest of the world views as plain language.  I address here the latter of the two:  the concept of a child’s habitual residence.  Remember those words, friends, because the U.S. Supreme Court held unanimously today that the term habitual residence should be analyzed under a totality-of-the-circumstances test.

In Monasky v. Taglieri, the Court held that a child’s habitual residence depends on the totality of the circumstances specific to the case, not on “categorical requirements.” 
Continue Reading Hague Convention Habitual Residence

State Department photo.

Another “I get this question pretty regularly” post… and the answer is usually pretty good news, in comparison to a parent’s dreaded fear.

The question usually pops up in a listserv or at some bar function, but occasionally in a call from a lawyer who’s stumbled across this