On September 15, 2021, in the case of Dumitrascu v. Dumitrascu, the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado ordered the parties’ minor child returned to Romania under the Hague Abduction Convention.
The Parties are parents to a daughter, AMBD, who was born in Romania on September 4, 2019. AMBD’s Mother (Romanian) and Father (American) had been living in Colorado with family, but traveled to Romania specifically to avail themselves of the free medical care related to their child’s birth. The couple and AMBD lived with family in Romania for 10 months after her birth and before the Father’s trip to the USA with the child. During that time, their plans over where to live diverged. Mother’s green card expired. She was denied an extension in January 2020. Father intended for the family to live in the United States “eventually,” although his Wife’s lack of green card left this unclear. Mother intended for the family to remain in Romania. She applied for a financial assistance program to help first-time homebuyers, but their application was denied because the Father was unemployed.
Father requested that he take AMBD to the United States for her social security card, to get her fingerprinted, and to reapply for the Mother’s green card. The Parents signed an affidavit, drafted by a notary, that permitted AMBD to travel to the United States “starting with July 6, 2020, until December 31, 2020.” A Romanian lawyer testified that these affidavits are common, and that if a parent wishes to live abroad for more than 3 years or to permanently relocate, the Parents need an order from the Romanian guardianship court. She also testified that by retaining the child beyond the time specified in the affidavit, a Romanian court would conclude that the Father was attempting to estrange and alienate the child, which, under Romanian law, is considered a form of child abuse.
At the time the Parents traveled to Romania in August 2019 for AMBD’s birth, their intent was to return to the USA as a family. This intent, however, shifted after AMBD’s birth. Five weeks after her birth, the Mother got a job, as the Father would not. Her green card expired, she applied to a first-time homebuyers program, the family acquired items like a bicycle, a safe, a washing machine, and a car. They stayed in Romania for far longer than was necessary to avail themselves of the free medical care related to the child’s birth. The Parents never shared a mutual intent to live apart, and it was only possible for the family to co-locate in the United States if the Father was successful in obtaining a green card for the Mother. Further, under Romanian law, the affidavit that was signed by both parents limited the trip AMBD was to take to the USA. The Mother’s agreement that the child be in the USA was conditional on a variety of things, including, the child getting citizenship and a social security number, the Mother getting a green card, and the Father working to save some money during this 6-month timeframe. At the end of the six months, the Father failed to, at a minimum, obtain a green card for the Mother.