Khan v. Fatima

The International Child Abduction Remedies Act, 42 U.S.C. 11601, entitles a person whose child has been removed from his custody to the U.S. to petition for return of the child. Father and mother lived with their daughter, three years old, in Canada. The parties are of Indian ethnicity; theirs was an arranged marriage. During a vacation in India, mother alleged domestic abuse, so that father was detained, while mother flew to the U.S. with daughter. Mother gave birth to a second child in the U.S.; that child is not at issue. The district court ordered the child returned to Canada. The child was taken from her mother by U.S. Marshals, based on the father’s assertion that the mother is a flight risk because India is not a signatory of the Hague Convention. The child lived with her father in a hotel in Chicago until she was returned to her mother pending appeal. The Seventh Circuit vacated and remanded for a hearing on whether being with the father will inflict psychological harm on the child. The court noted the conflicting assertions of the parents and that the district court did not explore the issue, apparently seeing it as a foreign problem.