Hague Convention “Habitual Residence” Newly Defined by Virginia Court of Appeals, But It Points to Korea

Coe v. Coe, Record No. 0854–15–4, decided on July 26 2016, adopts the U.S. Court of Appeals Fourth Circuit definition of habitual residence for purposes of the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Habitual residence is not defined in the Hague Convention, but in Virginia it now consists of the place where a child has been “physically present for an amount of time sufficient for acclimatization and which has a degree of settled purpose from the child’s perspective.” Most remarkable about this opinion is not its adoption of a widely-respected definition of “habitual residence”; but the fact that appellant’s case was so weak, and his counsel was so heavily criticized by the appellate court. Briefly, here are the facts: Daughter was born in 2007. The parties lived in Arizona until 2011 when mother moved to her native Korea with daughter and father went to Afghanistan. Later that year, they vacationed in Phuket, Thailand. Father obtained an Arizona divorced in 2012, and returned to the States in 2014 taking up residence in Virginia. At the end of 2014, father sent mother and daughter plane tickets to visit him from Korea. Immediately when they arrived, father hid their passports […] 5

Anthony, Weedon, and Cleary are Reminders to Read the Applicable Statute Carefully Before Appealing

I. Anthony v. Skolnick-Lozano, (No. 1270-13-2, March 4, 2014), Published II. Weedon v. Weedon, (No. 1378-13-2, May 6, 2014), Unpublished III. Cleary v. Cleary, (No. 1343-13-4, May 13, 2014), Published These Virginia Court of Appeals cases clarify pre-marital contributions to another spouse’s separate property (Anthony), the 21-day limit on equitable distribution (“ED”) appeals (Weedon), [nonexistent] appellate jurisdiction over a show-cause denial (Weedon), and the mandatory content of time-delimited spousal support orders (Cleary). I. When a multi-part statute has leading sections that specifically apply before marriage and after marriage, [20-107.3(A)(1) and (A)(2)]; and a subsequent statutory section that is silent about when it applies; then does the later section [20-107.3(A)(3)(g) deal with before marriage, after marriage, or both? Which period or periods of time do you think should apply? Anthony answers this question logically, and convincingly. Section 20-107.3(A)(3)(g) must apply before and after marriage. No statutory wording justifies disregarding traced contributions to another party’s separate property before the marriage, as the Anthony wife contends. The Anthony husband also misconstrues 20-107.3(A)(3)(g). He claims all he has to do to recover a $14,000.00 pre-marital contribution to wife’s house is prove he paid the money. That is not enough, obviously. The statute says: “When […] 5