Friday, September 23, 2016

Interview with Jeremy Morley: Local Father Desperate After Son is Reportedly Taken to Russia

Published: September 22, 2016, 4:36 pm
QUEENSBURY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A Queensbury man is raising awareness to a growing global issue of International Child Abduction. It happens when a child is wrongfully taken and held in another country by a parent.
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon.
Corey McKeighan shares custody of his son Xavier with his mother who is from Russia.
What was supposed to be a mother and son three week trip to her country, has McKeighan worried he will never get his son back.
Xavier is bright and full of energy. He just turned 4 on Monday.
“He was the best kid in the world. He was happy, he was funny.”
His ex-wife agreed to return on September 16th.
“The day before they were supposed to return, she had called me and said, ‘We’re not coming back and you’ll never see us again.'”
In a panic, McKeighan contacted the U.S. State Department, FBI, and congressional leaders. They are working with the foreign government to resolve this case that they say is international child abduction.
“It’s a gigantic problem,” International Family Law Attorney Jeremy Morley said.
Morley has worked on hundreds of these types of cases. In Russia, it is difficult because our countries are not in a treaty relationship.
“We know that the Russian legal system is unpredictable. What I would do in a case like this is start the process by making contact with the taken parent and advising the taken parent of how dangerous their intended course of conduct is.”
Xavier was diagnosed with autism and his routine and treatment is back home in New York.
His father is still waiting to give his son a card for his 4th birthday.
“The first thing I would do is sing, ‘Who Let the Dogs Out’ with him because that’s one of our favorite songs,” Corey said. “I feel like I keep hitting walls. I just keep seeing him in my heart and in my mind. It pushes me nonstop ever day, just trying to do what I can.”
A U.S. State Department official says:
“We are aware of the reports regarding an international parental child abduction case.  Due to privacy considerations, we decline to provide additional details.
One of the Department’s highest priorities is the welfare of U.S. citizens overseas. This is particularly true for children, who are among our most vulnerable citizens.  The Bureau of Consular Affairs, along with our Embassies and Consulates, works with parents and foreign governments to try to resolve these difficult cases. Generally speaking, in cases involving international parent-child abductions a U.S. Embassy or Consulate can facilitate contact with local authorities, provide information on local judicial and law enforcement processes, offer a list of attorneys and translators, and issue passports or other travel documents as appropriate under U.S law.”
McKeighan has created a Facebook Page to raise awareness of this global issue in the hopes of bringing Xavier back home to the United States.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

JDM Speaking at Paris Bar Association Event, 9/20

Jeremy will speak in Paris at the Paris Bar Association on Tuesday morning, Sept. 20th, together with Delphine Eskenazi (Libra Avocats in Paris) and Sophie Rodrigues (French Ministry of Justice). 

The theme of the event is a Comparison of French and U.S. Practices concerning International Child Abduction:

La French-American Bar association (FABA) organise le mardi 20 septembre de 8 h 30 à 10 h 30 à la Maison du Barreau une conférence relative aux enlèvements et déplacements illicites d’enfants, et spécialement dédiée aux pratiques comparées France/États-Unis. Ce sont deux heures qui seront validées au titre de la formation continue obligatoire des avocats.
Cette conférence sera animée par Jeremy Morley, avocat Newyorkais qui a récemment publié à l’AJ famille un article sur l’enlèvement d’enfants aux États-Unis (AJ fam. 2016. 253), Delphine Eskenazi, avocate parisienne qui a codirigé, avec Alexandre Boiché, au sein de cette même revue, le dossier « Divorce dans le monde » (novembre et décembre 2015), et Sophie Rodriguez, adjointe au chef du bureau du droit de l’Union, du droit international privé et de l’entraide civile (Ministère de la Justice / Direction des affaires civiles et du sceau).
  • Informations pratiques
8h30 – 9h :  petit déjeuner de
9h– 10h30 : Conférence / Questions
Lieu : Maison du Barreau, Salle Gaston Monnerville, 2-4 rue de Harlay, 75001 Paris
  • Contact et inscription
Merci de bien vouloir RSVP en écrivant à l’adresse suivante :
Et pour toute question, écrire à l’adresse :

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Child Visits to Israel

Jeremy D. Morley*
When parents are separated and one wants to take a child to visit Israel, the other parent often worries that the child will not be returned, especially if the taking parent is Israeli or has expressed a desire to live in Israel. Such concerns should not be brushed aside. Obviously, if the taking parent is, for example, a homesick expat Israeli or a Jew who yearns to make aliyah to Israel or a person whose own parents live in Israel, the concerns of many left-behind parents will normally be greatly enhanced.
Both Israel and the United States are parties to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. This treaty requires that children who are wrongfully retained away from the country of their habitual residence must normally be promptly returned to that country. Israel Indeed, any lawyer handling international child custody cases will be well aware that many of the major U.S. decided cases on the Hague Convention are cases with a significant Israeli connection. 
However, the Convention does not work automatically and children are often not returned. The left-behind parent must establish certain matters before the court in the foreign country and the taking parent may rely on any of the six exceptions (sometimes described as defenses) to the Convention. Hague cases are invariably stressful to both parents, and they can be extremely expensive.
Furthermore, some parents may take advantage of some of the unique features of the Israeli legal system once they have successfully taken a child into Israel. In particular, they may obtain a “stop” order that will prevent a child from being taken out of the country. Such orders are routinely issued and they incentivize a parent who wants the child to remain in Israel – either because of a belief that it would be better for the child to live there or in order to create leverage over the other parent in financial or child custody negotiations - to delay the custody case for as long as possible.
If the taking parent commences a custody case in an Israeli Family Court, such an order may even be issued ex parte (without notice to the other party) and transmitted immediately to the border police at all airports and border crossings. Or if the taking parent commences a divorce case in a religious court in Israel, a stop order may be issued by that court.
It can be difficult, expensive and nerve-wracking to try to overturn a stop order. It often provides powerful leverage to the taking parent who might be using such tactics with the left-behind parent.
We often work with parents in the United States who want to prevent their children from being taken to Israel because of such concerns or who want to create the strongest possible documentation and court orders that will authorize visits on terms that will drastically minimize the risk. There are various steps that can and should be taken to substantially reduce the risks.
*Jeremy D. Morley is a New York lawyer who handles international child matters globally, working always with local counsel as appropriate. He frequently handles complex and highly charged U.S.-Israeli child custody matters. He is the author of the American Bar Association book, The Hague Abduction Convention: Practical Issues and Procedures for Family Lawyers. He may be reached at

Friday, September 02, 2016

JDM Speaking at Beverly Hills Bar Association Event: 9/28

A lively conversation about the issues facing both international and family law practitioners in our global society. The speakers will discuss international visitation, child relocation, and the Hague convention as well as providing tips on strategic international divorce.

Jeremy Morley 
Premier International Family Law Attorney

Jennifer Riemer, CFLS 
Walzer Melcher LLP

Malcolm McNeil, Partner,
Arent Fox focusing on International Litigation
When: Wednesday, September 28, 2016, 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm
Where: Westside Tavern - Westwood Room (Directions, Parking is Complimentary)
$97 - Members who pay in advance*
$297 - Non BHBA Member Who Pay In Advance ($25 more for each at the Door)
Interested in Membership? Try it Free, No Commitment, for 30 days
Malcolm McNeil, Esq. & Albert S. Golbert, Esq. | International Law Committee Chairs
Brian Lepak, CFLS & Adam Philip Lipsic, CFLS | Family Law Section Chairs
Ellyn J. Stein, Esq. & Debra S. Frank, Esq. | Program Co-Chairs
To Attend & Register, follow the below link:

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Japan and the Hague Abduction Convention: An Update

Jeremy D. Morley[1]
Japan adopted the Hague Abduction Convention with effect from April 1, 2014. Before then, its reputation as a safe haven for international child abduction was almost universal. Japan yielded to international pressure by signing the Convention but its compliance with the treaty is questionable.
A few cases have been initiated in Japan under the Convention. Unfortunately decisions in Hague cases in Japan are not being officially reported, are private and are not accessible.
The U.S. State Department has reported that in 2015 there were no court-ordered returns of children from Japan, and that there were three voluntary returns. In one case, although a Japanese court ordered a child’s return to the United States, the order was not enforced.
Custody orders in family law cases in Japan are unenforceable. It is regarded as beyond the function and responsibility of the State to interfere with the privacy of family life. Accordingly, the drafters of Japan’s Act for Implementation of the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction had to create enforcement processes for the first time in Japan. This explains in part why the Implementing Act is unusually long.
However, the provisions concerning enforcement did not succeed in the only case reported by the U.S. State Department in which a court in Japan issued an order that a child should be returned to the U.S. The State Department has stated that, “In 2015, Japan failed to comply with its obligations under the Hague Abduction Convention in the area of enforcement of return orders. A Japanese court issued the first Convention return order to the United States in early 2015. Authorities attempted, but were unable to effectuate enforcement of the court order by December 31, 2015, exposing what may be a systemic flaw in Japan’s ability to enforce return orders.”  
Another extremely serious concern is that Article 28 of Japan’s Implementing Act expands the scope of the Article 13(b) exception in several significant respects.
Although the Convention provides that “grave risk” is not an absolute defense, but merely provides a court with a right, in the exercise of the court’s discretion, to choose not to return the child to its habitual residence, the Japanese law eliminates that discretion.
The Japanese law also adds three “circumstances” that a court “shall consider” whenever the grave risk defense is asserted. These are:
          i.        The first such circumstance is that courts are directed to consider whether there is “a risk” (but not a grave risk) that the child would be subject to “violence” if returned to the state of habitual residence, and defines violence to include “words” as well as “deeds” and “physical or psychological harm.” This emphasis on mere risk directly contradicts the treaty language.

        ii.        The second circumstance is if there is “a risk” that the taking parent “would be subject to violence etc. by the petitioner” in the state of habitual residence. However, the language of the Convention limits the scope of the grave risk exception to a risk to the child, not to a parent of the child.

      iii.        The third special element that a Japanese court must consider in a Hague case is, “Whether or not there are circumstances that make it difficult for the petitioner or the respondent to provide care for the child in the state of habitual residence.” However, this “circumstance” is entirely beyond the scope of the Convention.
Finally, I understand that all access cases are being submitted to the regular Family Courts pursuant to the regular procedures for custody cases and that the mediation that is required to be conducted in such cases is the regular mediation process rather than the expedited mediation that has been set up for Hague return cases. Unfortunately, mediation in family cases in Japan is generally, in my experience, extremely unhelpful, time-consuming and onerous for non-Japanese litigants. Accordingly, parents with access claims are generally extremely disappointed that their plight has not been improved.
All in all, there is grave cause for concern.

[1] Jeremy D. Morley is an international family lawyer in New York who works with family lawyers throughout the United States and globally. He is the author of two leading treatises on international family law, International Family Law Practice and The Hague Abduction Convention.  He frequently testifies as an expert witness on the child custody law and legal system of countries around the world, including India, Japan, China and Western Europe. He may be reached at