Celebrating Our International Family Law Success Stories

Couple Looking at Paper

Our clients come to us in their most desperate situations. When the other parent has absconded with their children, we step into the shoes of our clients to be an aggressive advocate for the return of the child or that a child remains in the United States. Under the guidance of attorney Carmelina Marin, we guide the parent to navigate the international legal system to return wrongfully removed children or to fight for those who wish to remain in the United States. International Family Law cases like this fall under the articles set forth by The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

We’re proud our unique combination of experience in both Florida Family Law and International Family Law helps our clients seek their desired resolution.

Good Vacation Gone Bad

Our client, his wife and children are American Citizens and the Wife had dual citizenship of the United States and Australia. The wife was having some difficulties in the United States. As a family, it was decided that the mother and children would spend summer vacation in Australia. When it was time to return to the United States, the Mother refused to return and would not allow the children to return to the United States with the Father. The Father acted quickly and was able to bring the children back to the Central Florida area.

The Mother filed a Petition to Return the Children under the Hague Convention. An authoritative Answer to Mother’s Petition for the Children to Return to Australia was filed, then a subsequent hearing was set by a Federal Judge. The Court ordered that the Children were not wrongfully removed or retained by our client and the Children should remain in the United States with the Father. The father and children continue to be happy and living their best life. The Mother and children continue to be close.

Children are as American as “Apple Pie”

Our client came to the United States from Columbia with her son. After 9 years in the United States, the Father filed a Petition to Return Child under the Hague Convention. This case required substantive evidence to show that the exceptions applied to these set of facts. Hague Convention provides several defenses. In this case, we were able to show the following:

(1) Father Was Not Exercising Custody Right;

(2) Father Did Consent to or Acquiesced to the Move;

(3) The Child of Sufficient Age and Maturity Objects to Being Returned;

(4) The Child is Well-Settled in the New Environment;

(5) There is Not a Grave Risk of Physical or Psychological Harm if the Child is Returned;

(6) Fundamental Principles Regarding the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms Does Not Apply.

The Court found in favor of our client and the Child was able to remain in the United States to play baseball on a traveling team, continue his boy scouts, and most importantly to remain in Florida with his mother and stepfather. In addition, to not be uprooted to a father, country, culture, and language he did not know.

Effects of Illegal Immigration with Children to the United States

In this very sad case, the Father was our client. The Mother illegally crossed the border into the United States with the assistance of coyotes across the Rio Grande River. The Child at the time of crossing was 4 years old.

The demand that the Child to Return was extremely fact-driven. We demonstrated through evidence and testimony that (1) the habitual residence of the child immediately before the date of the allegedly wrongful removal or retention was in Venezuela to which return is sought; (2) the removal or retention breached the petitioner's custody rights under the law of the child's habitual residence; (3) the petitioner was actually exercising or would have been exercising custody rights of the child at the time of the child’s removal or retention; and (4) the child has not reached age 16.

The Mother based her case on the political climate of Venezuela. However, her arguments were flawed, and she was unable to prove the Grave Risk defense. The Court found in favor of our client. We are happy to report that the Child is now happy, well cared for in every possible way with her loving Father and entire extended family.

Of course, every case is unique in its facts, strengths, and weaknesses. These are just a few of the cases attorney Carmelina Marin has handled over 20 years of practicing family law in State and Federal Courts.