Justices struggle with international custody law

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is struggling to figure out if American courts have any further say in a custody dispute between a U.S. soldier and a Scottish woman over their daughter.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Lee Chafin and Lynne Hales Chafin had a daughter in 2007. Lynne Chafin was deported after divorce procedures started in Alabama, but she cited a global treaty on international child abduction when she sued to bring her daughter to Scotland.

She left with the child once a federal judge allowed it, but the American father wanted to appeal. A federal appeals court said his appeal was moot because the child is now in Scotland.

Several justices seemed concerned by the idea that a foreign parent could escape U.S. court jurisdiction by getting on a plane.

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