Robert v. Tesson, 507 F.3d 981 (6th Cir. 2007)

INCADAT legal file Hague parental abduction

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The application related to twin boys born in 1997 to an American father and an American mother. The family moved between the United States and France, spending periods of time in both countries. There were difficulties in the parents’ marriage and during periods of separation the boys lived both in France with the father and in the United States with the mother.
From July 1999 till September they resided in the United States, from September 2001 till December 2002 in France and from December 2002 till September 2003 in the United States.
In September 2003 the mother terminated her apartment lease in Denver, left the family’s home in France as her forwarding address and shipped several boxes to France. Some possessions were left behind in France. Mother and children left on 18 September on a return ticket. The return date was 8 October.
On arrival relations between the mother and father were not positive. The renovation of the family home was not very advanced. The twins were enrolled in a local school but the mother also sought legal advice on divorce. On 8 October whilst the father was away for the day the mother took advantage of the return ticket to go back to the United States with the twins.
Divorce proceedings were issued in both France and the United States. The father also filed a criminal complaint that the mother had abducted the boys. This led to her receiving a 1 year suspended jail sentence.
The father petitioned for the return of the boys but on 29 June 2005 the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio at Cincinnati dismissed the application, finding that the boys were not habitually resident in France at the time of the removal. The father appealed.