The habitual residence case Taglieri v. Monasky, which focuses on a child born in Italy to Michelle Monasky, an Ohio native, to Domenico Taglieri, an Italian native, in 2014 and her decision to bring the child back with her to Ohio following marital unrest, will be moving to the U.S. Supreme Court. It is the fourth habitual residence case to reach this level.

Following two hearings in the 6th Circuit, one in November 2017 where the court ordered the then 8-week old child be returned to Italy, and an en banc hearing in June 2018, where a case is heard before all judges of a court instead of a panel, in which the court voted 10-8 in favor of the child remaining in Italy, co-managing partner Andrew Zashin and lawyers Amy Keating and Christopher Reynolds of Zashin & Rich will travel to the Supreme Court in November to present their briefs in favor of Monasky, and further clarity in the issue of habitual residence.

Habitual residence, which is essentially the location where a child has spent most of his or her life, or where he or she has the deepest connection, is part of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction of 1993. The treaty was designed to secure the return of children wrongfully removed to, or retained by, any member country and ensures the rights of custody are respected.

Zashin explained though many countries have definitions of habitual residence, the case moving to the Supreme Court is of note. In the U.S., individual circuit courts can define habitual residence anyway they like. This is what causes cases like Taglieri v. Monasky to arise, and how each court can’t find common ground.

“What we’re hoping to do here is clarify the interpretation of the Hague Convention around the country,” Zashin said.  “To grossly oversimply the issues in the case, the issue is the habitual residence of the child under the Hague Convention. It can be a controversial topic, and it was left undefined and very vague because of that. It is left up to the treaty partners to define what that means. It is about getting clarity and getting the different federal circuits (including the 6th Circuit) to be consistent. The standard of review can be different and is not clear.”

Zashin added the case is of importance, especially within the Jewish community, because of how the world is a “much smaller place” now.

“People move all the time, people move for jobs and start families all the time in different places,” he stated. “It’s a very unfair situation sometimes. So, this is the next step. This is for those children in this bracket for whom habitual residence is unclear (and) where parental intent is also unclear. Families just might not know what they’re getting themselves into.”

Another Cleveland-based attorney, John D. Sayre of Nicola, Gudbranson & Cooper, is representing Taglieri.

“We believe that this case will be studied and have a significant historical impact. We think it’ll literally be one for the books,” Zashin added.

Publisher’s note: Andrew Zashin writes a monthly legal column for the Cleveland Jewish News.

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