We are continuing our discussion of the Illinois family law case that the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on earlier in September. As we said, it is not often that a custody dispute will land in a federal court. It happened in this case because the matter crossed international borders.
The mother, an American, lived in Sweden with her partner when their son was born. The relationship was not working out, though, and she returned to America. She told her partner it was a vacation, but the day she was scheduled to return, she informed him neither she nor their son would be returning — and she disappeared.
Her partner found her and their son in Illinois and sued under the Child Abduction Remedies Act.
The district court found that Sweden was the boy’s “habitual place of residence.” The court was not convinced the father was a danger to his son. Under Swedish law, the father still had custody rights, so the court ordered that the boy go back to Sweden.
The mother appealed to the 7th Circuit, to no avail.
The boy, the appellate court said, may have been born in the U.S., but he was by and large raised in Sweden. Further, the court noted that the woman had acquired permanent residency status in Sweden, did not pay taxes in the U.S., did not maintain a residence here … all indicators that she planned to stay in Sweden and raise her son there.
If she does not appeal this ruling — to the U.S. Supreme Court — the mother will have to return her son to Sweden and pay her partner’s court fees and costs.