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[W] Bouvagnet v. Bouvagnet

July 26, 2002

PATRICE BOUVAGNET, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
JEAN C. BOUVAGNET, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 01 C 4685--Ronald A. Guzman, Judge.

Before Ripple, Manion and Evans, Circuit Judges.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ripple, Circuit Judge.

OPINION WITHDRAWN per Order dated August 29, 2002.

PATRICE BOUVAGNET, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
JEAN C. BOUVAGNET, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 01 C 4685--Ronald A. Guzman, Judge.

Before Ripple, Manion and Evans, Circuit Judges.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ripple, Circuit Judge.

ARGUED FEBRUARY 28, 2002

After his wife filed for divorce in Cook County, Illinois, Patrice Bouvagnet, a resident of France, filed a petition in the district court, seeking the return of the couple's two children to France. Mr. Bouvagnet petitioned under the International Child Abduction Remedies Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 11601-11610 ("ICARA"), which implements the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, Oct. 25, 1980, T.I.A.S. No. 11670, 1343 U.N.T.S. 89 ("Hague Convention"). The district court dismissed the petition, holding that Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971), required abstention. For the reasons set forth in the following opinion, we reverse the judgment of the district court.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Facts

Patrice and Jean Bouvagnet were married in New York City in 1988. They later moved to France where their twin children, Jennifer and Maxime Bouvagnet, were born in 1995. In November 1998, Patrice and Jean Bouvagnet filed for divorce in a French court and agreed to a "temporary convention," which provided that the Bouvagnets would share custody of the children. In December 1998, Mrs. Bouvagnet represented to Mr. Bouvagnet that she wanted to move to Chicago for a short time with the children where she would work as a flight attendant for her employer, United Airlines, until she could earn enough seniority and good will to secure a transfer to Paris, France. Mr. Bouvagnet agreed. That same month, Mrs. Bouvagnet initiated the application process for obtaining French citizenship.

Mrs. Bouvagnet left France with her two children that December and, after visiting her family, moved to Chicago in January 1999. Throughout 1999, Mrs. Bouvagnet continued to represent to Mr. Bouvagnet that she would soon return permanently to France. Indeed, in August 1999, Mrs. Bouvagnet visited France to sign papers concerning her application for French citizenship. In that regard, Mr. and Mrs. Bouvagnet agreed in November 1999 to put the French divorce proceedings "on hold," because Mrs. Bouvagnet's application for French citizenship was based on her marriage to Patrice Bouvagnet, a French citizen. R.1 at 13. A French court dismissed the divorce proceeding the following month for want of prosecution.

Mrs. Bouvagnet assured Mr. Bouvagnet in January 2000 that her transfer to Paris would soon be effected. In February 2000, however, Mrs. Bouvagnet's application for French citizenship was dismissed after she failed to appear for a mandatory meeting with French authorities. That same month, Mrs. Bouvagnet filed for divorce in Cook County, Illinois. Mr. Bouvagnet was served with the divorce petition in March 2000 while visiting his children. Mr. Bouvagnet then instituted French divorce proceedings in May 2000. *fn1 After the Illinois court rejected Mr. Bouvagnet's challenge to its jurisdiction, he participated in the Illinois proceedings. The Illinois court granted temporary custody of the children to Mrs. Bouvagnet in July 2000 and, in March 2001, denied Mr. Bouvagnet's request for visitation in France. Trial was set for June 2001. Mr. Bouvagnet informed the court in April ...


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