Monasky v. Tagliere

Summarized by:

  • Court: United States Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Family Law
  • Date Filed: February 25, 2020
  • Case #: 18-935
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: GINSBURG, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and BREYER, SOTOMAYOR, KAGAN, GORSUCH, and KAVANAUGH, JJ., joined, and in which THOMAS, J., joined as to Parts I, III, and IV. THOMAS, J., and ALITO, J., filed opinions concurring in part and concurring in the judgment.
  • Full Text Opinion

A child's habitual residence under 22 U.S.C. §9003(b) depends on the totality of the circumstances and it is not necessary for there to be an actual agreement between the parents. Further, a first-impression determination of habitual residence is subject to review for clear error.

Petitioner, a U.S. citizen, fled with her and Respondent’s infant child back to the United States after Respondent allegedly became abusive while the parties lived in another country. Respondent petitioned for the return of the child under the Hague Convention and 22 U.S.C. §9003(b), arguing that the child had been wrongfully removed from their country of habitual residence. The district court found that it was the parties shared intent to raise the child in Italy, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed. The child was returned to Italy under an instant-return order. Upon review, the United States Supreme Court held that a child’s habitual residence depends on the totality of the circumstances and an actual agreement between the parents is not necessary. Furthermore, a first-instance determination should be reviewed for clear error. The Court relied on the Hague Convention’s explanatory notes of habitual residence and the clear trend of other signatory nations that it is a fact-driven inquiry. The nature of the inquiry therefore is a task for the factfinding courts and should be reviewed on appeal for clear error. The Court resolved that the district court’s exhaustive record supports the instant return order. AFFIRMED.

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