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Order Directing Return of Minor Children to Country of Habitual Residence [mirror image order]

James D. Garbolino
February 25, 2016

This is a “mirror image” order that is designed to be entered in both the U.S. court making the order and in the courts of the child’s habitual residence. This order directs that it be sent to the U.S. Central Authority for transmission to the Central Authority of the child’s habitual residence, and thereupon entered in the appropriate court of the habitual residence.  Such a procedure is likely to consume a lot of time.  Typically, counsel for the parties are directed to obtain the issuance of the mirror order from the foreign court.

Note:  Before entering such an order it should be determined that the courts of habitual residence have capacity to issue the order for enforcement in that country.  Additionally, courts should be mindful of issues of comity when orders of return are conditioned upon the cooperation of foreign courts.  

See, e.g., Maurizio R. v. L.C., 201 Cal. App. 4th 616, 644 (2011) (return order impermissibly conditioned on father’s assurance that Italian government would not prosecute mother for kidnapping); see also discussion in Danaipour v. McLarey (Danaipour I), 286 F.3d 1, 22–23 (1st Cir. 2001).

Judge James Garbolino has prepared the attached sample order for this website. The sample order does not represent official policy or recommendations of the Federal Judicial Center.

This document is part of The 1980 Hague Convention on International Child Abduction:  A Resource for Judges, a Special Topic Webpage.