In this case, the mother was both a United States and Norwegian citizen who was raised in Norway by her parents. She married the father, had two sons and then divorced him
under the guise of wanting to introduce the children, who were born and lived in Norway, to the United States and its culture, she received permission from the father to stay in the United States for one year.
After the one-year period of time, the mother refused to come back to Norway with the children. She first deceived the father as to the return, and then had the children cut off all communication with him.
The Gourvitz firm found the children and petitioned for their return under the Hague Convention on Civil Aspect of Child Abduction.
One of the children had Hirschsprung’s Disease from birth and was treated for it in New York. She argued that only in the United States, particularly New York City, could he be treated with his current doctors who also testified that the disease could only be treated and monitored by them not only now but for the immediate future. That meant having the child spend the rest of his life in the United States and not return to Norway.
The mother also added a blitzkrieg of Hague Convention defenses first claiming that the children were United States Citizens, their habitual residence was in the United States, that the children had acclimatized to the United States and should not be returned, that the father failed to exercise his custody rights under the Hague Convention, that the father was abusive and posed a threat to the mother, and according to her expert any disruption of the children’s mental health treatment would be sub optimal and would be traumatic to the children; and, most importantly, if returned to Norway, the children would be exposed to a grave risk of harm because of the inability to treat their medical conditions in Norway.
A trial was held and the mother brought in a specialist to testify as to Hirschsprung’s Disease and submitted post-trial letters by the treating doctor that treatment should be done in the United States and that the child should stay here. A psychiatrist was retained by the mother and testified that it would cause psychological harm to both children to be sent back to Norway. He also testified that the children had acclimatized to the United States and should not be removed.
At the trial, the Gourvitz firm, through strenuous cross-examination of the doctors, psychiatrists, and the mother, disproved all defense theories and that the children should be returned to Norway.
The Court requested post-trial submissions. They subsequently secured letters from doctors and hospitals in Norway of their ability to treat Hirschsprung’s Disease.
The Court granted the father’s Petition filed by the Gourvitz firm and ordered the mother to return the children to Norway.
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