De Silva v. Pitts, 481 F.3d 1279, (10th Cir. 2007)

INCADAT legal file Hague parental abduction

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The application related to a boy born in the United States in February 1993 to a Sri Lankan mother and American father. The parents were not married and in February 1994, when the mother’s visa expired, she was ordered to leave the country. She did not.
In May 1994 the father obtained an order from a local court in Oklahoma to prevent either parent from removing the child from the jurisdiction of the court. In July 1994 the mother unilaterally removed the child to Sri Lanka. In August the Oklahoma court awarded the father full custody.
The mother subsequently brought custody proceedings in Sri Lanka. In the absence of a viable remedy, Sri Lanka not then being a party to the Hague Convention, the father did not contest the application and in 1996 the mother was awarded custody.
In January 2003 the mother moved to Canada with the child, where she was accepted as a refugee. In 2005 the boy travelled to Oklahoma to stay with the father for part of the summer vacation. He did not return, expressing a desire to remain in the United States.
The mother’s return application was dismissed by the US District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma. The Court found that the boy had been wrongfully removed from Oklahoma in 1994 and that he now wished to remain with the father. The mother appealed.