Mr. Karim filed a petition for return of his 8-year old daughter from the USA to England on September 7, 2021. Ms. Nakato, the child’s mother, had removed the child on or about September 1, 2020. The father, when he arrived home to their shared residence that day, found all the child’s belongings gone, and had assumed that the child was relocated to Derby, England, which was an agreed relocation of 1-hour away from the current address. Instead, however, Ms. Nakato had relocated the child to Woburn, Massachusetts. Mr. Karim testified that he learned of the child’s residence in the USA in January 2021, which provoked him to promptly file an application with the Central Authority for England and Wales to seek the child’s return.
The parties debated a variety of things during their trial, including whether or not they were legally divorced (possibly having obtained a unilateral divorce through Uganda, where they had met), whether there was abuse by Mr. Karim of Ms. Nakato, and whether his abuse caused Ms. Nakato to suffer a miscarriage of a second child. The court noted on several occasions that the story Ms. Nakato told at trial differed in material ways from the asylum application she had filed, seeking status in the USA. Overall, the court found Ms. Nakato’s testimony lacking in credibility. Ms. Nakato’s statements differed, at times, significantly, from that of Mr. Karim and even her own asylum application. She further did not provide corroborative evidence that could have verified her statements. At times, there was documentary evidence that supported Mr. Karim’s statements more than her statements.
Ms. Nakato did not meet her burden of demonstrating any of the Hague Abduction Convention’s several exceptions. There were no points in time where Mr. Karim could have consented to this specific relocation, and Ms. Nakato provided no evidence that her 8-year-old was mature and did not request the child be interviewed, so her only evidence of an objection was that the child cries when Ms. Nakato mentions returning to England. The court cannot credit Ms. Nakato’s allegations of physical abuse given her “extensive inconsistencies” and even if taken as true, she did not meet her burden to show that the abuse would expose the child to a grave risk. Finally, even though one year has passed since the wrongful removal and Mr. Karim’s Hague petition filing, Ms. Nakato failed to meet her burden to show that the child is now settled in Massachusetts. Mother and child reside with Ms. Nakato’s boyfriend, who pays for all of their expenses, and Ms. Nakato is unemployed with her only funds being in Uganda. She relies, in part, on MA public assistance. Her and the child’s immigration status is uncertain. Neither has been granted asylum. Therefore, the court ordered the child returned.