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In re Marriage of Badawiyeh - Abduction Prevention

The law is comprised of statute and caselaw. The statute sets forth the basic law. Because statutes are not always clear as how they apply to a specific set of facts, appellate court case decisions are also a part of the law. Appellate cases interpret statutes and are an important part of the totality of the law. We can learn a great deal by reviewing court case decisions.

Kid hugging his motherIn In re Marriage of Badawiyeh, the Colorado Court of Appeals considered the issue of abduction prevention measures. During the marriage the parties had travelled with their children to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where Father's relatives resided. Father and the children possessed Jordanian passports. Mother requested abduction prevention measures from a Colorado District Court to help ensure that if the children were taken overseas that they would be returned.

Although the trial court found that it did not share Mother's concern about a potential for abduction, nevertheless it entered abduction prevention measures against Father requiring him to post a bond before travel and that a third party maintain possession of the children's passports outside of travel times with Father. There are various statutory factors that a court must consider that may support a motion for abduction prevention measures such as generally:

  • leaving employment;
  • selling a primary home;
  • ending a lease;
  • closing a financial account or liquidating assets, or hiding financial documents;
  • applying for a passport, visa or obtaining travel documents;
  • attempting to obtain a child’s birth certificate or school or medical records;
  • engaging in domestic violence, domestic abuse, stalking, or child abuse and neglect;
  • refusing to comply with a child custody order;
  • lacking strong familial, financial, emotional, or cultural ties to a State or the United States;
  • having strong familial, financial, emotional, or cultural ties to another state or country;
  • Probability of taking a child to a country that is not a party to the “Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction” or several other relevant international situations;
  • undergoing an immigration or citizenship status change impacting the respondent’s ability to remain in the United States legally;
  • having had an application for United States citizenship denied;
  • having forged or presented misleading or false evidence in an attempt to obtain government documents;
  • having used multiple names in an attempt to mislead, or
  • other relevant conduct.

Father appealed. The Court of Appeals found that the trial court had to find a "credible risk of abduction" before entering abduction prevention measures per C.R.S. § 14-13.5(104)(1) and that the court must consider certain factors before issuing an order. The trial court had failed to make adequate findings. It only found that the UAE was not a signatory to the Hague Convention; which provides protection in the event of international child abduction. It found no other factors . The case was remanded back to the trial court to make adequate findings.

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