West v. Dobrev, No. 12-4159 (10th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Respondent Stanislav Dobrev from sought a custodial arrangement from a Utah State court more favorable than the arrangement he received from a French court a few weeks prior. Petitioner and Respondent divorced in France; Petitioner found work in Belgium, Respondent found work in Utah. Petitioner was granted leave to move with her children to Belgium by the French court. Prior to waiving his right to appeal the French order, Respondent picked up the children and brought them to the United States for a pre-approved vacation. The children were scheduled to return to Belgium, but Respondent instead filed for “Emergency Jurisdiction and Custody” in Utah to challenge the French court’s order. A week after holding a preliminary hearing, the district court, pursuant to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and its implementing legislation, The International Child Abduction Remedies Act (ICARA), summarily granted Petitioner petition for return of the children. On top of that, the district court awarded Petitioner fees, costs, and expenses. Respondent appealed to the Tenth Circuit, generally claiming a denial of due process based on the district court’s refusal to provide him an evidentiary hearing. The Tenth Circuit noted that Respondent alleged or could have alleged before the French court many of the facts he alleged in his state petition. Given the facts of this case, the Tenth Circuit saw “nothing to suggest the district court stepped beyond the bounds of its discretion in awarding Petitioner her fees, costs, and expenses. Based upon all [the Court has] written [. . .], much of which certainly suggests Respondent [was] not blameless for the current state of affairs,” the Court could not say the award was “clearly inappropriate.” The judgment of the district court was affirmed in all respects.