Enforcement of Foreign Court Awards - Child Custody

Chennai woman wins Indo-US custody battle for only son

  CHENNAI: A Chennai-based software engineer won her only son's custody after the Madras high court on Tuesday refused to take cognizance of an interim order of the Superior Court of California, which had granted the permanent custody of the boy to his US-based father, also an engineer.

The boy was born in September 2008 when the couple were working in the US. While he was barely 15 months old, the family came to India for a visit, but only the boy and his father returned to the US, as the mother could not get H1B working visa. The father had a green card and the boy was a US citizen by birth. In 2011, the man and his son came to India but the mother was not informed. However, while they were on their way back, they were made to return from Singapore because the mother had lodged a police complaint and many relatives of the father had been detained. Since then, the boy has been in with his mother.

The father, who went back to the US, moved the court in California, which granted him permanent custody of the boy. The man then approached HC seeking to enforce the order.

But, Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana picked holes in the father's case, and ruled that the boy will remain with the mother. "Though the father invoked the jurisdiction of the foreign court, he has not obtained any substantive order in his favour," she said.

Pointing out that the US court order restrains the mother from removing the child from the state of California, the judge said, "It is unenforceable, because the child on the relevant date was in the custody of the mother in India." Though he was a green card holder, became a US citizen later, and obtained green cards for his parents, the boy's father never sponsored his own wife, she said.

Pointing out that the mother had accompanied the father and the child to the airport to see them off when she could not travel for want of visa on November 19, 2009, the judge said: "That being so, it is surprising how he can file a case before the foreign court on the ground of abduction/kidnapping...the question of kidnapping does not arise." 
  Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/Chennai-woman-wins-Indo-US-custody-battle-for-only-son/articleshow/48409036.cms  


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