US Judge Rules Children Need Not Return to Mexico, Because They Were Not Abducted and Are Now Well-Settled

Mexican Mother and Mexican immigrant Father, living in neighboring Fort Pierce, Florida, have two Children together. The Children, who are eleven and nine, are US citizens.

Mother and Father split up. Mother returns to Mexico, taking Children with her.

Father regularly deposits child support money into a bank account for Mother. The support money accumulates in the account, unspent.

And Father hears worrisome gossip.

Father travels to Mexico to check on Children.

It turns out Mother left the Children with her eighty year old Grandmother … indefinitely. Without visiting them or seeing to their needs.

Children are living in terrible poverty. Daughter is malnourished. Children forage for food in dumpsters.

Grandmother and Father appear before Mexico’s child welfare agency. No one knows how to reach Mother to inform her.

Grandmother gives up custody of Children to Father, who will take them to the US.

Children settle in with Father in the US. Children do not miss Mexico.

Two years go by. Mother files an application for return of the Children to Mexico under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

The US judge hearing the case rules that there was no abduction, because Grandmother agreed to Father taking the Children to the US and the Children are now well-settled. Further, Mother’s action is untimely and barred.

Read more in this Treasure Coast [FL] Palm article: Anthony Westbury: This judge really got it right.