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GOURVITZ FIRM PREVENTS SEXUALLY ABUSED GIRL FROM BEING RETURNED TO THE UNITED KINGDOM

flagIn a Hague Convention return case, a mother retained her 6 year old daughter after the time she promised the father she would return her to the United Kingdom and kept the child with her in New Jersey. The father, a corporal in the British Army, failed to safeguard his daughter from sexual abuse from his "mate" and was making no safeguards for her further safety. He applied for her return under the Hague Convention which was tried in the District Court of New Jersey. Elliot and Ari Gourvitz filed their responses on behalf of the mother arguing that the United States, not the United Kingdom was the child's "habitual residence" and the Hague Convention "13b exception," that of imminent harm to the child, precluded the return. After the first day of trial the judge adjourned the trial for 60 days for the Gourvitz firm to have available British social services personal, who had submitted reports which included statements of the father's nonchalant behavior about the attack and his failure to provide further safeguards. Seeing how the court was leaning toward enforcing the exception, and possibly finding that the child's "habitual residence" was New Jersey, the father dismissed his action, leaving custody in New Jersey which was designated the child's "habitual residence" with the mother.

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Elliot H. Gourvitz
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