Case Update (2021): Adjei v. Mayorkas; recognition of a foreign divorce decree

Mr. Adjei and the U.S. government filed cross motions for summary judgment in a recent case before the U.S. District Court for the EDVa.  On March 23, 2021, the court granted the U.S. government's motion for summary judgment, but denied Mr. Adjei's .   This case revolves around USCIS's denial of Mr. Adjei's 2014 application for naturalization.  The key argument used by the U.S. government to deny his application was that Mr. Adjei's wife was not legally divorced from her first Husband before she married Mr. Adjei, and therefore, his marriage, on which his application was based, is void.   Petitioner's wife married her first Husband in June 1996 in Ghana, lived there for three years before moving with her Husband to the United States, and, while residing in the United States, divorced that Husband according to Ghanaian law in April 2001.  This divorce involved the wife's father and the husband's uncle submitting declarations of the divorce, later confirme

Case Update (2021): Aluker v. Yan; right of custody pursuant to a Property Settlement Agreement, Article 3 "legal effect"

On March 4, 2021, Judge Liam O'Grady of the U.S. District Court of the EDVa, entered an order in the case of Aluker v. Yan , granting Respondent's motion for judgment on partial findings.  Petitioner has appealed. In September 2017, the Aluker-Yan family moved from the United States to Portugal, where they initially resided together, but separated thereafter.  On November 9, 2018, the parties executed a Separation and Property Settlement Agreement (PSA).  The pertinent language from that PSA says, "[Yan] shall have sole legal and primary physical custody of [both children]. [Aluker] shall be entitled liberal and reasonable visitation with the children."  The agreement also had a clause construing the provisions therein according to the law of Virginia, where Ms. Yan presently resides with the children. In May 2019, Mr. Aluker filed proceedings in the Portuguese family court.  The PSA was not introduced into those proceedings.  On October 3, 2019, Ms. Yan informed Mr.

Case Update (2021): Pozniak v. Shwartsman; grave risk of harm and the need for a proper forensic expert

On March 15, 2021, in the case of Pozniak v. Shwartsman , the U.S. District Court for the EDNY ordered a minor child to be returned to Israel under the Hague Abduction Convention.   Ms. Pozniak (a Ukrainian national) and Mr. Shwartsman are unmarried parents to one 9-year-old child, SP.   During the first few years of SP's life, the family moved between Ukraine and Israel, until about 2014, at which time the family settled in Israel, sometimes under the same roof, and, at other times, not.   Mr. Shwartsman traveled with SP a few times to New York City.  The parents had no formal custody agreement, but worked together to ensure access between SP and both parents.  In July 2019, Mr. Shwartsman traveled to NYC with SP.  At trial, the parents disagreed as to the length of the trip, with Mr. Shwartsman arguing it was meant to be indefinite.  Ms. Pozniak argued that she agreed that SP return no later than September 1st for school, but that date ultimately was moved back, later and later,

Case Update (2021): de Jesus Joya Rubio v. Alvarez; mature child objection with a psychologist's report

On March 15, 2021, in the case of de Jesus Joya Rubio v. Alvarez , the U.S. District Court for the SD of Florida denied a father's petition to have his 12-year-old son returned to Mexico.  The father proved his prima facie case, so the court shifted its review to the 3 exceptions the respondent mother argued.  As part of the mother's arguments, she retained the services of a psychologist to evaluate the minor child.  Ultimately the mother demonstrated that the minor child was mature, objected to returning to Mexico, and was not unduly influenced, and that the father filed his return petition more than one year past the wrongful retention and the child was now settled.   Mature Child's Objection The psychologist's evaluation of the child was key, and he focused on several very prominent issues when opining that the child had mature objections and was not unduly influenced.  Most specifically, the child was diagnosed with ADHD in Florida, and his mother had sought the tr

Case Update (2021): Golan v. Saada; U.S. Supreme Court request brief from Solicitor General

On April 5, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court invited the Acting Solicitor General to file a brief in the case of Golan v. Saada, to express the views of the United States.  This blog has featured a variety of updates on this case over the past year.  The issue presented to the Supreme Court was:  "The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction requires return of a child to his or her country of habitual residence unless, inter alia, there is a grave risk that his or her return would expose the child to physical or psychological harm. The question presented is: Whether, upon finding that return to the country of habitual residence places a child at grave risk, a district court is required to consider ameliorative measures that would facilitate the return of the child notwithstanding the grave risk finding."   Ms. Golan's Petition for a Writ of Cert can be found here .  Mr. Saada's Affirmation in Opposition can be found here .  Ms. Golan then fil