Logourl black
From our private database of 14,100+ case briefs...

Abbott v. Abbott

United States Supreme Court
560 U.S. ___ (2010)


Timothy Abbott (plaintiff) and Jacquelyn Vaye Abbott (defendant) had a child, A.J., in 1995 and moved to Chile in 2002. The couple separated in 2003. Chilean law granted Jacquelyn daily care and control of A.J., but granted Timothy regular visitation rights and a ne exeat right—a joint parental right that Timothy could use to prevent Jacquelyn from removing A.J. from Chile. While the custody case in Chile was still pending, Jacquelyn had taken A.J. to Texas without consent from Timothy or the Chilean court. Jacquelyn filed for divorce in Texas and sought full control over A.J.'s place of residence. In 2006, Timothy filed suit in the United District Court for the Western District of Texas, seeking a court order mandating that A.J. be returned to Chile, pursuant to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Abduction Convention). Jacquelyn argued that a right of custody must be capable of being exercised. Therefore, as a ne exeat right cannot be exercised unless and until the other parent attempts to remove the child from the country, a ne exeat right is not a right of custody. The district court denied Timothy's request, holding that Timothy's ne exeat right was not a right of custody. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed, holding that the return of the child is not a remedy for a violation of a ne exeat right. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.


The issue section includes the dispositive legal issue in the case phrased as a question.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Holding and Reasoning (Kennedy, J.)

The holding and reasoning section includes:

  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Dissent (Stevens, J.)

The dissent section is for members only and includes a summary of the dissenting judge or justice’s opinion.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 221,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,100 briefs, keyed to 189 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.