Cantor v. Cohen, 442 F.3d 196 (4th Cir. 2006)

INCADAT legal file Hague parental abduction

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The application related to three of the four children born to a couple, who, whilst married, had resided in Israel. The parents divorced in July 1998, the decree being pronounced by a Rabbinical Court. The latter provided that the father would have custody of the two older children, the mother custody of the two younger children.
The parents subsequently arranged that instead the mother would have custody of the two girls, the father custody of the two boys. This arrangement was recognised in a second rabbinical decree of January 2000. However, between January and September 200 the mother had care of all the children as the father underwent training in the United States having joined the United States Air Force Chaplaincy as a rabbi.
A third divorce decree was pronounced in July 2002 which confirmed the mother as having custody of the girls, the father of the boys, but it also provided that the father could take the boys to Germany where he was now posted and that one of the girls could go to Germany on an extended visit.
In December 2002 the parents agreed that the second girl could rejoin her siblings in Germany. In April 2004 the father took the children to the United States when he was posted there. In April 2004 the mother petitioned for the return of the children and for access to them.
On 18 April 2005 the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, at Greenbelt held that it did not have jurisdiction to hear the mother’s access claims. This was confirmed as a final judgment and all access claims were dismissed on 23 May. The mother appealed.