Hague Convention USA

How Hague Convention Cases are tried in the USA ?

Judge: Susan D. Wigenton
Referred: Leda D. Wettre
Case #: 2:17-cv-12179
Nature of Suit 890 Other Statutes - Other Statutory Actions
Cause 28:1331 Fed. Question
Case Filed: Nov 29, 2017
Terminated: Jul 15, 2019

The mother left with the daughter to the USA for a temporary stay. The father was not worried because the stay was supposed to be temporary and he signed various documents with the mother to demonstrate it. The father also had a civil union with the mother from Dec. 31, 2014 to Jun. 2, 2017.

The return of the daughter forthwith

The wrongful child removal started on Jul 19, 2016, a complaint has been sent to the french central authority on Jul. 11, 2017 so the child return should have been forthwith. Instead of that it took more than 3 months to US central authority to send a list of 3 attorneys (17 Oct. 2017) to start proceedings before the New Jersey district court.

Article 12, Hague Convention: Where a child has been wrongfully removed or retained in terms of Article 3 and, at the date of the commencement of the proceedings before the judicial or administrative authority of the Contracting State where the child is, a period of less than one year has elapsed from the date of the wrongful removal or retention, the authority concerned shall order the return of the child forthwith.

The proceedings

The judge Susan D. Wigenton chose Patricia E. Apy to represent the daughter. She was also on the list of 3 attorneys sent by the US central authority to the french central authority to start the proceedings. The father contacted multiple times Patricia E. Apy before starting the proceedings and he finally decided to hire another attorney. The judge denied the father's request to choose another attorney for his daughter.

The mother answered to the petition that no agreements were signed before leaving france in her letter to the judge defendant's answer to plaintiff's amended verified complaint and affirmative defenses filed on Mar. 8, 2018.

The father had to do 14 conferences before the evidentiary hearing to be held. Settlement conferences were planed but the father never asked for any settlement during these proceedings.

For the duration of the proceedings, Patricia E. Apy refused all communication with the father. The cost of the proceedings were very low for the mother as Patricia E. Apy wrote multiple letters to dismiss the petition without any evidence that the daughter was well settled in the USA. It is in contradiction with Article 12 of the hague convention.

Article 12, Hague Convention: The judicial or administrative authority, even where the proceedings have been commenced after the expiration of the period of one year referred to in the preceding paragraph, shall also order the return of the child, unless it is demonstrated that the child is now settled in its new environment.

According to article 11 of hague convention, the case should have been solved in 6 weeks: the father had to wait 2 years to get a hearing.

Article 11, Hague Convention: If the judicial or administrative authority concerned has not reached a decision within six weeks from the date of commencement of the proceedings, the applicant or the Central Authority of the requested State, on its own initiative or if asked by the Central Authority of the requesting State, shall have the right to request a statement of the reasons for the delay.

The hearing, Jul. 1, 2019

It is possible to notice in the video that the petitioner was not provided a translator who was able to speak french fluently whereas the defendant who was supposed to be well settled in the USA needed a translator.

The defendant said she was in france with a visa for a temporary stay but she forgot to mention she got a french resident card for mother of french citizen.

It is also possible to notice in the video that Robert D. Arenstein and Richard Min forgot evidences the father planed with them to show.

The most remarkable thing in this hearing is that the mother is even using in her own exhibits agreements that were denied to be signed in her first letter to answer the judge on Mar. 8, 2018.

The conclusions of the judge Susan D. Wigenton, Jul. 15, 2019

The judge Susan D. Wigenton has concluded in her letter of opinion that there was no possible return to France because the child was well settled. This was her conclusion even if when the proceedings started, the child was only 2 years old and 1 year after the beginning of the proceedings, the child was still not going at school in the USA.

Today, Oct. 13, 2019

Today the father still has not been able to see his daughter again. The father had to share the cost of proceedings with the mother even though the mother has obviously deliberately violated the joint exercise of parental authority and never respected the place and rights of the father.


Mother, american citizen, represented by: Kristy Lipari, Crystal M. Ullrich

Father, french citizen, represented by: Robert D. Arenstein, Richard Min

Daughter, represented by: Patricia E. Apy