Murphy v. Sloan

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Family Law
  • Date Filed: 08-25-2014
  • Case #: 13-17339
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge McKeown for the Court; Chief Judge Kozinski and Circuit Judge Clifton
  • Full Text Opinion

In deciding whether to return a child under the International Child Abduction Remedies Act the court will look to the last held mutual intent on where the child’s habitual residence will be, as well as whether the child’s attachment to the two countries has shifted to the point that returning the child would result in removal from a developed social and family life.

Elaine Murphy brought suit seeking the return of E.S., her child, to Ireland under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, as implemented by the International Child Abduction Remedies Act (“ICARA”) from her ex-husband William Sloan. Murphy and Sloan had agreed that E.S. would live with Murphy in Ireland for about a yearlong “trial period” while Murphy attended graduate school, with the intention that Murphy and E.S. would return to the United States and live in a second house purchased by Sloan. E.S. attended school in Ireland for three years, however received her medical and dental care in the U.S., in addition to returning regularly to visit Sloan. In 2013, Murphy removed E.S. from school for 19 days in order to visit her boyfriend in the Maldives. Concerned for E.S.’s education, Sloan ultimately took E.S. back to the U.S. Murphy then filed this action, claiming that Ireland was E.S.’s “habitual residence,” which was denied by the district court that found that Murphy and Sloan never had shared intent for E.S. to reside in Ireland. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit held that the district court was correct in determining that E.S. had not abandoned her habitual residence in the U.S. and that the record did not show unambiguously that E.S. was acclimatized to Ireland. In deciding whether to return a child under the ICARA, the court will look to the last held mutual intent on where the child’s habitual residence will be, as well as whether the child’s attachment to the two countries has shifted to the point that returning the child would result in removal from a developed social and family life. AFFIRMED.

Advanced Search