What is the habitual residence of a child?
In an international child abduction procedure, a parent must deliver proof of the habitual residence of the child.
European Court of Justice
According to the European Court of Justice, a child’s place of habitual residence is the place which, in practice, is the centre of that child’s life. It is for the national court to determine, on the basis of a consistent body of evidence, where that centre was located at the time the application concerning parental responsibility over the child was submitted (European Court of Justice (ECJ), 28 june 2018, C-512-17.)
In a child abduction case it is important to proof what was the habitual residence of the child just before it was illegally brought to the other country.
The Supreme Court of the Unites States of America gave a clear decision on the issue of habitual residence in the case Monasky v. Taglieri (February 25, 2020). In short this decision tells us that a child’s habitual residence depends on a totality of circumstances specific to the case, not on categorical requirements such as an actual agreement between the parents.
Thus, the determination of habitual residence is very casuistic and it is important to seek good advice and gather concrete evidence in a timely manner.
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