Decision of the Federal Supreme Court 5A_437/2021 of 8 September 2021

INCADAT legal file Hague parental abduction

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The child, a girl, was 4 at the time of the alleged wrongful removal from the USA.
The parents were not married and met online when the mother was still a teenager (and living in Switzerland). During her second visit to Florida the mother (not a US national) became pregnant.
The mother gave birth to the child in Florida in October 2016 and stayed in the USA on a tourist visa, which expired in November 2016.
The parents separated in 2018 after which the mother moved in with relatives in New Jersey and the father of the child filed a Petition for Establishment of Paternity. During the proceedings, the mother asked the court to grant her and the daughter authorisation to leave the USA, which the court denied.
In early 2020 the daughter mostly lived with the father on the basis of the majority time sharing arrangement set out by the court.
In June 2020 the court in Florida ordered shared parental responsibility, which set out that the child should alternate every eight weeks between her parents. The court also ordered that the parents be prohibited to leave the country with the child.
In October 2020 the court in New Jersey issued a temporary restraining order against the father and attributed temporary custody to the mother based on allegations of the mother that the child had been hurt by the father.
In December 2020 the mother travelled to Switzerland with her daughter. Upon her leaving the USA, border control issued a 10-year ban on the mother’s entry into the USA, as she had stayed in the USA illegally since her tourist visa expired.
The father initiated a child abduction procedure in Switzerland. On 11 May 2021 the High Court of the Canton of Zurich (first instance in child abduction cases) dismissed the father’s request for return. The father appealed against this decision at the Swiss Federal Supreme Court which confirmed the decision of the High Court of the Canton of Zurich.