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Bader v. Kramer
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
484 F.3d 666 (2007)
Ulrich Bader (plaintiff) and Sonja Kramer (defendant) married and resided in Germany. C.J.B. was born to the marriage in 1999. Bader and Kramer separated in August 2000. Bader was convicted of weapons charges and sentenced to three and a half years of prison. Bader and Kramer divorced in German court in June 2002. Bader was released from prison and visited with C.J.B. in December 2002 and January 2003. Kramer and Bader each filed petitions in German court for sole custody. In March 2003, the German court set a visitation schedule and ordered Bader to pay monthly child support, which he paid, in addition to supporting C.J.B. financially during visits. In April 2003, C.J.B. was visiting Bader at his home when Kramer picked up C.J.B. and took C.J.B. to the United States without Bader’s knowledge or consent. Bader filed a request for return of child with the German Central Authority, pursuant to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Convention). The German court granted sole custody of C.J.B. to Bader in December 2003. Bader subsequently filed a Hague Convention petition in federal court in the United States alleging that Kramer wrongfully removed C.J.B. from Germany. In the ensuing litigation in the United States, the district court established that Bader was “actually exercising” his custody rights when Kramer took C.J.B. to the United States. That finding was the first step in its determination that Kramer wrongfully removed C.J.B. from Germany. Consequently, the United States court ordered C.J.B.’s return to Germany. Kramer appealed, arguing that Bader was not “actually exercising” his custody rights when Kramer took C.J.B. to the United States.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Shedd, J.)
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