On August 29, 2020, the Mother traveled with the child from Honduras to the United States to visit with a family friend named Bessy. She had a return plane ticket for September 26, 2020, which she never used. Instead, she remained with the child in the USA. The Mother left behind most of her clothes, only took $200 with her, and there was no “going-away party” prior to the trip. The Father signed a limited duration travel authorization, for purposes of the trip. Mother never took any steps to commence an immigration process once arriving in the USA. In December 2020, the Father moved his belongings out of their shared home in Honduras, which was titled solely in Mother’s name. Around this time, Mother met Henry. Bessy, with whom Mother and Child were staying, seemed to pinpoint this as the time when Mother decided to not return to Honduras. In February 2021, Father traveled to the USA to see the child. During this trip, he threatened to take the child back to Honduras. In addition, he and Bessy tried to convince Mother to let the child return. Mother testified that around this time, she left the child with Bessy and Father and went to be with Henry in Tennessee, telling Father he could return to Honduras with the child. The Father, however, on the advice of Honduran counsel, returned alone in March 2021, and promptly filed his application for return of the child with the Honduran Central Authority. During the child’s life in the USA, he has proven not proficient in reading, still speaks Spanish at home, spends significant time with Henry’s family and not Henry and Mother, and has lived in 3 different residences (with Mother having 4 different jobs).
The Court concluded that the Father, in no way, consented to or acquiesced in the child’s retention in the USA. He acted promptly to have his child returned, and persisted in his requests to the Mother of the same. Further, the few minor incidents to which the Mother testified of marital discord – a bruise, a shove, and a hair pull – do not make out a grave risk of harm. She also did not prove that the family was the direct target of gang violence in Honduras, or that the Father’s new home almost 4 hours away, was one where gangs were rampant. Further, the Mother cannot argue the child is settled because the Father filed his lawsuit less than one year after the child’s unused return plane ticket. Therefore, the child is ordered returned to Honduras.