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Custody battle sends 5-year-old from Chicago to Ireland

A 5-year-old boy born and raised in Illinois has been sent to Ireland to live there with his father. The international child custody fight has focused on the fact that, under Irish law, the child is a citizen of Ireland, despite, according to his mother, never having previously set foot on the Emerald Isle.

Because of the international aspects of the case, it was heard in the U.S. by a federal judge. Generally, child custody decisions are made in state rather than federal court. But where the case landed is the least of the mother's worries right now.

Judges in both the U.S. and Ireland have ruled in favor of the father in awarding custody. The boy's mother is in the process of appealing, hoping to have the child brought back to the U.S. The child may have been born here, but he is an Irish citizen according to the law of Ireland, and the U.S. court has agreed.

The mother claims that the father lied to the courts, stating that the child had been living in Ireland. She also says that she finds the impending separation emotionally devastating, along with the fact that she does not know when she will see her son again. The boy has many friends in school in Chicago and is a big fan of the Chicago White Sox baseball team, according to her. She says that he does not really understand the issues involved in the custody battle, or why he will soon be separated from his mother by something as vast as the Atlantic Ocean.

The mother has been held in contempt of court by the Irish court hearing the case, and she believes she will be arrested the minute she arrives in that country. Until the matter is settled, she is prevented from even visiting Ireland to see her son or accompanying him on his trip there. His grandmother went in her place.

Source: WGNtv.com, "Chicago-area boy in custody fight sent to Ireland," Tom Negovan, July 10, 2012

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