The case of Van de Sande v. Van de Sande, which was remanded by the Seventh Circuit to the district court in
The district court has now rendered a ruling in which it has thrown the proverbial book at the violent and dangerous petitioner-father. Sande v. Sande, No. 05 CV 1182 (N.D.Ill. 01/29/2008).But the ruling is apparently far too little and far too late. The children are in
The case concerns the two young children of a Belgian father and an American mother who married in
During a family visit to
What happened next is where a bad situation got far worse. The problem seems to have resulted from mediation in the district court and with an independent mediator specializing in family issues. Mediation produced an agreement pursuant to which the court entered an agreed order which allowed the father to take the children to
The district court has now taken action against the father. It allowed the mother to contest the issue of habitual residence even though the Seventh Circuit had assumed if not determined that the habitual residence was in
The district court’s ruling is fine -- except that the children are in
The Seventh Circuit saw the danger of assuming that the foreign court would provide the necessary protection. But the subsequent process seems to have let the children down. We do not know what occurred in mediation and to what extent the court encouraged it. However, it seems reasonable to assume that the mother was told that she might well lose the case (again) on remand and that she should trust the Belgian legal system to protect her and the children.
The Hague Convention is a worthy treaty which sometimes produces great injustice.