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Locasto v. Locasto

October 5, 2007


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Magistrate Judge Morton Denlow


This case comes before the Court on Respondent's motion to enforce the June 12, 2007 settlement agreement.*fn1 Respondent Mary LoCasto ("Mary" or "Respondent") contends the parties reached an oral agreement during the settlement conference. Petitioner Luigi LoCasto ("Luigi" or "Petitioner") argues the parties did not reach an agreement because any agreement was conditioned upon the execution of a written agreement. Petitioner further argues there was not a meeting of the minds as to a material term because he did not agree to a release of his rights in this action. The Court holds that the parties reached an enforceable oral agreement on all material terms including all claims raised in this case.

The following constitute the Court's findings of fact and conclusions of law. To the extent certain findings of fact may be deemed conclusions of law, they shall also be considered conclusions of law. Similarly, to the extent matters contained in the conclusions of law may be deemed findings of fact, they shall also be considered findings of fact.


A. Background Facts

Mary and Luigi are married, and they are the parents of Marina LoCasto, born on June 6, 1991, and Gianluca LoCasto, born on November 5, 1995*fn2 (the "Children"). Mary is a citizen of the United States and Luigi is a citizen of Italy. The Children were born in the United States and lived in Italy for a period of time. In August 2005, Mary and the Children returned to the United States from Italy.

On March 19, 2007, Luigi filed a petition for the return of his children pursuant to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction ("the Hague Convention"), 42 U.S.C. § 11603, The International Child Abduction Remedies Act, A.R.S. §25-1005, and the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, 750 Ill. Comp. Stat. 36/302 (2004) ("Luigi's Petition"). Meanwhile, Mary started divorce proceedings in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, 07 D 5284 (the "Divorce Proceeding"). Pet. Resp. Ex. A.

B. June 12, 2007 Settlement Conference

On June 12, 2007 the parties participated in a settlement conference ("the Conference") before the Court. Mary and her counsel were present. Mitchell Katten represents Mary in this case, and Julie P. Brett represents Mary in the Divorce Proceeding. Luigi's counsel was present at the conference, and Luigi participated by telephone. Monica Tynan and Cheri Baden represent Luigi in this case, but do not represent Luigi in the Divorce Proceeding.

During the Conference the parties reached an oral agreement to settle the instant action (the "Agreement"). The material terms of the Agreement are as follows: Luigi will be allowed six weeks of visitation each year with the Children. The Children will spend three to four of the six weeks of visitation with Luigi in Italy "during the summer and/or around the children's Christmas and/or Easter vacations." Resp. Mot. Ex. C, ¶ 2. Other than the prescribed visitation Mary will retain "physical possession" of the Children. Id. ¶ 1. Mary will pay half of the children's round trip airfare to Italy one time per year so long as Luigi is providing child support. If Luigi is not providing child support, he will pay the total cost for the Children's trip(s) to Italy from the United States.

Luigi shall notify Mary by February 1 of each year if he wants the Children to visit him in Italy or if he intends to travel to Chicago for the Children's spring visit. Luigi shall notify Mary by April 1 of each year as to the weeks he would prefer the Children visit during the coming summer and whether the visit will be in Italy or Chicago. Mary must respond by April 8. The parties have until April 15 of each year to finalize the summer visitation schedule. The children will decide when they want to visit Luigi over their Christmas break. Luigi has until October 1 of each year to communicate with the Children about this decision and to finalize their Christmas visitation schedule.

The parties intend the Children's trips to Italy will be no less than ten days, although the parties will consider the Children's schedules when deciding how long each trip will be. Mary is to obtain a new passport for Marina as soon as is practically possible and to keep Luigi apprised of the developments in securing the passport. The parties will work together on determining how the visit for this summer will take place in light of the passport issue and timing. Luigi will return the Children to the United States upon the completion of each of their visits to Italy. Mary agrees to allow Luigi full access to the Children when he comes to Chicago for the aforementioned weeks.

The Agreement is only a minimum visitation agreement and the parties are free to make any additional arrangements for visitation amongst themselves. The Agreement shall remain in effect for each of the Children until the respective child reaches the age of eighteen.

The parties also agreed that Luigi's Petition for return of the Children under the Hague Convention will be dismissed. The Divorce Proceeding was not included in the Agreement. The parties agreed to memorialize the Agreement in writing, but did not condition the Agreement on the execution of a written agreement. Finally, ...

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