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

Chafin Press Release

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

U.S. Army Sergeant 1st Class Jeff Chafin fears for his daughter’s welfare.  Testimony showed Scottish mother to be a heavy drinker and violent.

Washington, D.C.  November 29, 2012:

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.  Within two hours Eris was taken out of the country by her mother, a woman she hadn’t seen in a year.   Testimony at trial demonstrated Eris was regularly in her father’s exclusive care as a result of Ms. Chafin’s multiple arrests for public intoxication and domestic violence before finally being deported back to Scotland in February, 2011. Arrest video documents one of Ms. Chafin’s episodes of drunken, violent behavior while Sergeant 1st Class Chafin was home caring for his daughter.

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