Redmond v. Redmond, No. 12-2511 (7th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Mary, who has both U.S. and Irish citizenship, attended college in Ireland.She and Derek lived together in Ireland for 11 years, but never married. Their son was born in Illinois. The three returned to Ireland 11 days later. A few months later Mary and the baby moved to Illinois against Derek’s wishes. As an unmarried father, Derek had no standing under Irish law to resort to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which requires return of children to their country of habitual residence if they are “wrongfully removed to or retained in” another country in breach of the custody rights of the left-behind parent. After 3-1/2 years, an Irish court granted Derek guardianship and joint custody. Mary was in Ireland with the baby for the final hearing. The court allowed her to temporarily return to Illinois. Eight months later Derek filed a Hague Convention petition in Illinois. The district court ordered the child returned to Ireland. The Seventh Circuit reversed. The district court incorrectly treated the parents’ last shared intent as a test for determining habitual residence. Under the Hague Convention, that determination is a practical, flexible, factual inquiry. When Mary moved with the baby to Illinois she was his sole legal custodian and removal was not wrongful under the Convention. By the time of the alleged wrongful “retention,” his life was too firmly rooted in Illinois to consider Ireland his home.