On November 29, 2022, the District Court of the WD of North Carolina denied Ms. Brandt’s request to return the parties’ two children, both born in Sweden, to Sweden using the Hague Abduction Convention. The children, born in October 2016 and September 2019, were the subject of a social welfare investigation in Sweden. The social welfare report played a significant role in both the parties’ Hague Abduction Convention proceeding, and the child custody suit filed in Sweden by Ms. Brandt.
On April 16, 2021, Mr. Caracciolo, traveled with the children to the United States by agreement, to avoid having the children placed in foster care. Ms. Brandt provided the children’s passports and birth certificates to him, although she disputes the length of time the children were permitted to remain in the United States by agreement, saying that the relocation was limited to 3 months. On July 6, 2021, Ms. Brandt secured an interim joint custody order from the Swedish court, and on March 31, 2022, the Swedish court awarded Respondent sole custody of the children and granted Petitioner weekly video visits. She filed a return petition on July 6, 2022 in the NC district court.
The district court concluded that Ms. Brandt did not meet her prima facie case. The children were not only in the United States with her agreement, but the subsequent custody order, issued by the Swedish courts, did not require Mr. Caracciolo to return the children to Sweden. Even Ms. Brandt acknowledged that the agreement the parents entered as part of the social welfare report did not include a definite return date for either child.