Hernandez v. Cardoso, No. 16-3147 (7th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Hernandez and Cardoso, citizens of Mexico, have two children: A.E., born in 2008, and M.S., born in 2002. Cardoso left Mexico with the children in 2014, allegedly to escape Hernandez's abuse and protect the children. Hernandez learned of Cardoso’s location in Chicago and sought the return of A.E. under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Cardoso agreed to return M.S. to Hernandez, but refused to return A.E. The district court heard witnesses and took testimony from the child, in chambers, outside the presence of counsel or the parties. The court found that Cardoso testified credibly that Hernandez hit her in the presence of A.E., intending that A.E. witness the abuse of his mother. The judge “observed a significant change in the demeanor of A.E. when the child discussed Hernandez, the domestic violence and the possible return to Hernandez’s custody.” The court found clear and convincing evidence of a grave risk of physical or psychological harm to A.E. if returned to Hernandez’s custody. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, finding the credibility determination sound. Repeated physical and psychological abuse of a child’s mother by the child’s father, in the presence of the child, is likely to create a risk of psychological harm to the child.