Thursday, April 27, 2017

Israel: Which Courts Handle Hague Abduction Convention Cases?

From the article by Judge Benzion Greenberger, District Court of Jerusalem, Israel, in the 2014 edition of The Judges’ Newsletter:

“Regarding Hague Convention cases, these are heard in Family Court, and all Family Court judges are qualified to hear them. Thus, while there is no specific concentration vis-à-vis Hague cases, these are heard by a relatively limited number of judges in the country who specialize in family law, and who are therefore better qualified to be involved in this complex area of the law. A recent development worthy of note in this regard is the administrative decision of the Chief Judge of Jerusalem District Court, in which three-judge panels hear appeals from the Jerusalem Family Court, to empanel a specialized three judge panel for Hague Convention appeals specifically, and on which panel will sit the judge representing Israel in the Hague Convention Judges Network. This model has yet to be adopted in other districts in the country, but this promising development is a further indication of the trend toward concentration in Israel to date.”

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Bahrain’s King Orders Formation of Legislative Committee to Review Unified Family Law

Manama – King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa issued on Sunday a Royal Order to form a legislative committee to review the new unified family law expected to be issued in the kingdom.
The Royal Order 24/ 2017 directed that the committee be formed of Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs called Legislative Committee to review the family draft law. Article One stated that the Legislative Committee consists of ten clerics of both Sunni and Shi’ite sects.
It added that the committee will hold its meetings at the headquarters of the Council. Whereas, Article Three specifies that the committee will consider the family draft law, its provisions and to ensure they are in accord with Islamic law.
Article Four states that the Legislation and Legal Opinion Commission will undertake the responsibilities of the committee’s secretariat. In addition, Article Five stipulates that the committee will submit a report to the Royal Court on its findings and recommendations with regard to the draft referred to it, and that the committee’s work ends immediately after the issuance of the family law in conformity with the constitutional procedures.
The Royal Order will take effect from the date of its issuance and its publication in the official gazette.
The bill is composed of 149 articles and governs personal status and family matters such as marriage, divorce and custody and covers the rights of men and women from both the Sunni and Shiite sects, the two main components of the Bahraini society.
The law will contribute to consolidating the stability of the Bahraini family, safeguarding its entity and boosting its significant importance in the diversified community and its pivotal role in sustainable development, according to the ministry of Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments.
The ministry began studying the proposal submitted by the Shura Council to the Cabinet to issue a unified family law in the light of studies based on realistic issues and actual needs and in consultation with the Supreme Judicial Council.
The ministry stated that it aspires for cooperation with the legislative branch to move ahead with the unified family law in compliance with the provisions of Article Two of the Constitution that stipulates that “Islam is the State’s religion and Islamic Sharia is the main source of legislation.”
Article Five of the Constitution stipulates that “the family is the basis of the community, formed on the basis of religion, moral ethics and love of the homeland and its legal entity is preserved by law that strengthens its bonds and values under the umbrella of which motherhood and childhood are protected,” the ministry added.
MP Abdul Halim Murad explained that in 2009 a family bill was introduced but rejected by Shi’ites. He believes that the law has been overanalyzed and the objections were political.
Murad added that with the absence of a law that gives women their rights, Bahraini women are treated unfairly.
Dalal al-Zayed, a member of the Arab Parliament and the Shura Council of Bahrain, said that the anticipated law will unite both Sunni and Shi’ite sects. Zayed is one of the MPs who proposed the new law.
She said that in 2009, a draft-law was approved by Sunnis and rejected by the Shi’ites who were represented back then by the now dissolved al-Wefaq Association. Accordingly, courts would apply clear laws and jurisdictions for Sunnis following the Sunni version, and juristic deduction for Shi’ites.
Zayed added that human rights associations and Supreme Council for Women are demanding the establishment of clear and unified family laws.
Five members of both sects of the Shura Council, the upper chamber of the dual parliament, submitted the unified family law bill that aims to improve the legal status of women regardless of their sect.
The bill was referred to the government, which in turn, should review it and present it to the Legislation and Legal Opinion Commission for amending its articles. It will then be referred again to the government which will present it to the parliament, and after that it will be sent once more to the Shura Council. If approved, the family bill will be submitted to the king to issue a decree of the new law.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Must Foreigners in the U.S. Always Carry Their Passport?

Jeremy D. Morley
Does a foreign visitor or resident need to always carry a passport while in the United States?
The question arises when, for example, a foreign parent wants to visit a child who lives with the other parent in the United States and the custodial parent asks that the visiting parent deposits all passports with an attorney to prevent possible child abduction.
The issue arises because Section of the Immigration and Nationality Act requires that, “Every alien, eighteen years of age and over, shall at all times carry with him and have in his personal possession any certificate of alien registration or alien registration receipt card issued to him ….”
Thus, a visitor needs to carry a record of lawful admission, not a passport. 
The federal regulations, 8 CFR. § 264.1(b), identify the prescribed alien registration documents as including the Form I-94 Arrival-Departure Record, the I-551 “green card” and the I-766 “EAD card.”
The “I-94” is the usual record of admission for a visitor. The problem is that the I-94 is now usually stamped in the passport upon entry, so that it cannot be separately held.
The solution is to print the I-94 from The Customs and Border Protection website.  It then serves as the official record of admission. 
Homeland Security helpfully expressly and clearly states - - that
"A traveler lawfully admitted (or paroled) into the U.S. may print their lawful record of admission (I-94 form) from this CBP website. If someone requests your admission information, this is the form you would provide."
Accordingly, it can be entirely appropriate for a custodial parent in such circumstances to require that all of the visitors passports be deposited with a court or an attorney prior to child visitation in order to help prevent international child abduction, and to explain that the visitor can comply with the law by printing and maintaining in his or her possession the I-94 printout.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Notes on Grenada Divorce and Child Custody Law

Jeremy D. Morley*

1.                  Grenada is not a signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

2.                  There are no bilateral agreements in force between Grenada and the United States concerning international parental child abduction.

3.                  The United Kingdom Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, including all subsequent amendments thereto, as well as England’s Family Proceedings Rules, are deemed to apply to Grenada and to be in full force and effect in Grenada by virtue of section 11 of the West Indies Associated States Supreme Court (Grenada) Act.

4.                  If parents are legally married they share the custody of their children. If they are not married, custody has traditionally been granted to the mother unless there are known facts of inappropriate behavior, mental or social problems.

5.                  Custody orders and judgments of foreign courts are not necessarily enforceable in Grenada.

6.                  In cases where one parent has been granted custody of a child, the other parent is usually granted visitation rights. If a custodial parent fails to allow visitation, the non-custodial parent may appeal to the court.

7.                  No exit visas are required to leave Grenada.

8.                  Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are likely to be enforced in Grenada but only to the somewhat limited extent that they are enforced under English law. In one case, the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in the Court of Appeal, citing the seminal cases of MacLeod, [2008] UKPC 64 and Radmacher, [2010] UKSC 42, ruled that a contract executed by the parties as a postnuptial agreement could be enforced like any other contract and due to the court’s multifaceted jurisdiction, its power to review such a document was not confined to the Matrimonial Causes Act.

9.                  The law on the division of assets upon a divorce is based upon the provisions of Sections 24 and 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act, particularly as interpreted by the U.K. courts in the seminal cases of White, [2001] 1 All ER 1  Miller,[2006] UKHL 24 and Charman, [2007] EWCA Civ 503. In particular the Eastern Caribbean Court has ruled in a Grenada case that the purpose of the court’s discretionary powers in this regard is to achieve “fairness” in the financial arrangements of the parties on or after a divorce, in light of the “equal sharing” and “sharing entitlement” principles of the U.K. authorities, derived from the “basic concept of equality permeating a marriage as understood today” and the “modern, non-discriminatory conclusion” that the proper evaluation of the parties’ different contributions to the welfare of the family should generally lead to an equal  division of their property unless there was good reason for the division to be unequal.”
* Jeremy D. Morley is an international family lawyer in New York who works with family lawyers throughout the United States, the Caribbean 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