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U.S. Courts Have Jurisdiction to Grant Relief When Child is Returned to Another Country

Recently, the US Supreme Court unanimously ruled that US courts have jurisdiction to grant relief under the Hague Convention even when a child is returned to another country.

The lower court allowed a mother to relocate with a child to Scotland, and refused to grant an automatic Stay. The father appealed, but the 11th Circuit Court dismissed the appeal as moot, arguing that once a child has relocated to another country the US court becomes powerless to grant any relief.

In its decision, the US Supreme Court stated that rendering these types of case moot could undermined the Hague convention's mandate of prompt return, since US courts would feel the necessity to automatically grant a Stay in order to prevent the loss of a right of appeal, even when the appeal has little chance of success. This in turn can potentially harm children, since it could delay a child's readjustment to the other country.

By allowing US courts to retain jurisdiction of these Hague Convention cases, the US Supreme Court has upheld the best interests of the child, by allowing courts to decide these cases as expeditiously as possible.

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