Child Abduction Risks Concerning India: Minnesota Appellate Decision

Posted by Jeremy Morley | Apr 08, 2024 | 0 Comments

by Jeremy D Morley 

India is a well-established safe haven for international child abduction, in this author's opinion, but expert evidence must be supplied to a court before it may make any such determination.

In a case in Minnesota, a district court authorized the parties' mother to take their child to India for summer and winter visits. The father then applied for an amended order and a new trial on that issue. In support of his application he submitted my expert affidavit concerning the family laws of India and the practices of the Indian court in cases in which children are retained in India in violation of custody orders issued by courts in the United States and other countries. The district court denied the application. On appeal, the Minnesota Court of Appeals granted the father's motion to stay the order authorizing the visits to India “because father raised substantial issues on appeal and faced potential irreparable harm if mother retained the child in India.”

The appeal court ruled that, since my expert affidavit was not before the district court when it determined the parenting time schedule, it fell outside the normal scope of appellate review. Nonetheless, because my affidavit “supports father's position that there is an abduction risk which in turn may impact the district court's best interest determination with respect of parenting time,” it remanded the matter to the district court in the interest of justice to allow that court “to consider the abduction issues in light of the subsequent information in the Morley affidavit… and other additional information that the district court deems appropriate.” Bhardwaj v. Sud, 2024 WL 1154329 (Court of Appeals of Minnesota, March 6, 2024).

About the Author

Jeremy Morley

Jeremy D. Morley was admitted to the New York Bar in 1975 and concentrates on international family law. His firm works with clients around the world from its New York office, with a global network of local counsel. Mr. Morley is the author of "International Family Law Practice,...


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