January 17, 2006
Case Law Development: Standard of Proof in International Child Abduction Cases
The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reversed a trial court's dismissal of a petition under the International Child Abduction Remedies Act because the trial court had applied the wrong standard of proof. Father had sued Mother under the act, seeking the return of his children to the United Kingdom. He alleged that Mother had violated the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of Child Abduction by taking the couple’s children to live in the United States. The district court concluded that Father had failed to prove "beyond a reasonable doubt" that the children were "habitually resident" in the United Kingdom at the time of their removal. The court of appeals reversed and remanded for additional proceedings, holding that the court need only establish the children’s habitual residence by a preponderance of the evidence.
Humphrey v. Humphrey, 2006 U.S. App. LEXIS 522 (January 10, 2006)
Opinion available on the web at http://pacer.ca4.uscourts.gov/opinion.pdf/041036.P.pdf (last visited January 13, 2006 bgf)