What would you do if your spouse took your children out of the country and refused to bring them home? A Canadian man unfortunately faced this situation after his wife took off with a child following their annual vacation to Rhode Island. Cases like this illustrate why it is so important to have a custody agreement in place. If you are concerned about a similar situation happening to you, you should contact an experienced Rhode Island child custody attorney as soon as possible.
The Circumstances of the Case
The couple was married in 2010, and had two children during the marriage. The father is Canadian and the mother is American, but she became a Canadian permanent resident after the marriage. Every year the family would take a trip to Rhode Island together. However, during the 2017 summer trip the mother found emails that suggested that the father was having an affair with someone else. Instead of returning to Canada, the mother flew to Texas with a child and then relocated to Michigan.
Throughout this period, the father and mother were in contact and the father helped to enroll the child in school in Michigan. The parties emailed about an interim agreement regarding the custody of the child and the couple’s unborn child that would have the children staying with their mother in Michigan. However, the father never signed the agreement. He later filed a petition for the return of the children.
Rhode Island Law
The applicable law that the father used is the same as the law that would be used in Rhode Island. That is because it comes out of the Hague Convention, which is an international law that signatory countries have agreed to abide by. Specifically, it falls under the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. U.S. Congress passed a law that also covers similar areas called the International Child Abduction Remedies Act. This of course applies throughout the country, including Rhode Island.
Under these laws, the person petitioning for the return of their child needs to prove that the child has been wrongfully removed from the country. They must prove this by the preponderance of the evidence. Specifically, they need to show that the child’s habitual residence is the state they are trying to get the child returned to, the petitioner has custody rights of the child in that state, and the petitioner actually used those rights at the time of the wrongful removal.
The father was able to prove his case. However, the mother tried to rebut this case by alleging that the father consented/acquiesced to the removal of the child. However, the court agreed with the father. They noted that the interim agreement was not signed and therefore he had not actually agreed to anything.
Hire an Experienced Rhode Island Child Custody Attorney to Help You
If your spouse has wrongfully taken the children out of the country, or you are concerned that they may, you should contact a knowledgeable Rhode Island child custody attorney to help you. The attorneys at Bilodeau Capalbo, LLC, can help you understand all of your custodial rights and responsibilities. Call (401) 300-4055 or use the form on this web site to contact us today for a free consultation!
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