Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals Finds in Favor of BB&D Client in Landmark Case Involving International Child Custody under the Hague Convention

BB&D member Kelley Farrell and associate Aaron Sanders represented the mother of two minor children involved in a custody dispute with their Peruvian father.  After traveling to the United States with the consent of the Peruvian government to seek medical attention for her son battling a rare and aggressive eye disease, BB&D’s client married a United States citizen and refused to return her children to Peru.  After the District Court permitted BB&D’s client to remain in the United States with her two teenage sons, the Peruvian father appealed, arguing that the return of the children was mandated pursuant to international treaty under the Hague Convention.  Representing the mother on appeal before the Eighth Circuit, Ms. Farrell and Mr. Sanders presented complex legal arguments never addressed by the Court.  Faced with a precarious and sensitive situation, the Eighth Circuit was ultimately persuaded by BB&D’s arguments and ruled in favor of the mother, finding the Hague Convention did not apply to one of the children and that the other child should not be forced to return to Peru over particularized objections based on the child’s fear of his Peruvian father and his desire to remain in the United States.