Simcox v. Simcox (6th Circuit) Hague Abduction, Grave Risk Of Harm

Digest from the 6th Circuit Blog: Simcox v. Simcox, Northern District of Ohio at Cleveland
BOGGS, Chief Judge. Claire Simcox appeals from the decision of the district court ordering her to return to Mexico with two of the four children currently residing with her in Ohio, which return the district court found was required under the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (“the Convention”) and its implementing legislation, the International Child Abduction Remedies Act (ICARA), 42 U.S.C. § 11601 et seq. Because of evidence of serious abuse to both Mrs. Simcox and the children at the hands of Mr. Simcox, the district court conditioned return of the children on certain “undertakings” designed to ameliorate the risk of harm to them upon their return to Mexico. Although we agree with much of the district court’s legal analysis of the Hague Convention, its ordered undertakings are problematic on the facts of this case, particularly its command that Mrs. Simcox herself return to Mexico. We therefore REVERSE and REMAND to allow the court to reconsider what conditions, if any, could ensure the safety of the children in Mexico during the pendency of custody proceedings.
Jeffery Morley at International Family Law calls this case a highly significant ruling on the grave risk of harm defense to a Hague Convention international child abduction petition.