Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Friday, June 17, 2022

SCOTUS Decision in Golan v. Saada

From SCOTUSblog:

The Supreme Court on Wednesday gave federal trial courts more discretion over whether children in some international custody disputes must be returned to their home countries. The unanimous decision in Golan v. Saada was the latest in a series of cases interpreting the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, an international agreement adopted in 1980 to deal with international child abduction during domestic disputes.

Under the Hague Convention, children who are wrongfully taken from the country where they live must be returned to that country so that custody disputes can be resolved there. The convention carves out an exception to this general return requirement, however, for cases in which there is a “grave risk” that returning the child would expose her to physical or psychological harm. In a decision written by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the justices ruled that when a court finds that there is such a grave risk, it can – but is not obligated to — consider whether there are any ways to reduce that risk, so that the child can still return home.

The question came to the court in a dispute between Narkis Golan, a U.S. citizen, and Isacco Saada, an Italian citizen. Golan and Saada were married in 2015, and Golan gave birth to the couple’s son, known only as B.A.S. in court proceedings, in Italy the following year. Saada was physically abusive to Golan throughout the couple’s marriage, eventually prompting her to take B.A.S. to the United States for a wedding. When she did not return, Saada went to federal court, seeking to compel B.A.S.’s return to Italy under the convention.

Read more here.

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