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Ahmed v. Ahmed

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

August 16, 2017

Faisal Ahmed, Petitioner-Appellant,
v.
Mardia Mohsin Ahmed, Respondent-Appellee.

          Argued: June 15, 2017

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Knoxville. No. 3:16-cv-00142-Thomas W. Phillips, District Judge.

         ARGUED:

          John T. Winemiller, MERCHANT & GOULD P.C., Knoxville, Tennessee, for Appellant.

          Linda Shay Gardner, GARDNER LAW OFFICE, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, for Appellee.

         ON BRIEF:

          John T. Winemiller, R. Bradford Brittian, MERCHANT & GOULD P.C., Knoxville, Tennessee, for Appellant.

          Linda Shay Gardner, GARDNER LAW OFFICE, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, for Appellee.

          Before: COLE, Chief Judge; GIBBONS and ROGERS, Circuit Judges.

          OPINION

          COLE, Chief Judge.

         This is an action under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction ("Hague Convention"), which the International Child Abduction Remedies Act ("ICARA"), 22 U.S.C. § 9001 et seq., has implemented into United States law. Faisal Ahmed claims that his wife, Mardia Mohsin Ahmed wrongfully retained their daughters in Knoxville, Tennessee, from the infants' habitual residence of the United Kingdom.[1]Mr. Ahmed filed a petition for their return. Because Mr. Ahmed has failed to establish that the United Kingdom was the children's habitual residence at the time Mrs. Ahmed retained them, we affirm the district court's denial of his petition.

         I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Mr. Ahmed is a citizen of the United Kingdom and resides in London. Mrs. Ahmed is a United States citizen and resides in Knoxville, Tennessee.

         The couple married in Bangladesh in December 2009. At the time, Mr. Ahmed lived in London and Mrs. Ahmed was an optometry student in Michigan. After the wedding, Mrs. Ahmed remained in Michigan to complete her studies. Mr. Ahmed visited periodically from London.

         In August 2011, Mrs. Ahmed moved to London to live with her husband. She obtained a visa, began working, and took steps to become licensed to practice optometry in the United Kingdom. That September, Mrs. Ahmed received a National Insurance Number (the equivalent of a Social Security Number).

         Mrs. Ahmed returned to the United States in December 2011 for additional training needed to practice optometry in the United Kingdom. Mr. Ahmed again visited Mrs. Ahmed in the United States periodically.

         Mrs. Ahmed did not return to London until August 2013, which she considered a permanent move. That October she applied for Indefinite Leave to Remain ("ILR") in the United Kingdom, stating in the application that she had considered London her permanent home for the previous two years. Mrs. Ahmed received her ILR the next year.

         By all accounts, the couple's relationship grew rancorous during this period, exacerbated, the parties say, by Mrs. Ahmed's professional challenges, two miscarriages, and the interference of both sets of in-laws.

         In February 2014, Mrs. Ahmed became pregnant again and was put on bed rest by her doctor for months. In April, she registered for an exam required to practice optometry in the United Kingdom.

         The couple had a bitter argument in May 2014, of which they offer conflicting accounts. Mrs. Ahmed then traveled to Knoxville, where she had lived previously. The couple disputes whether Mrs. Ahmed intended to return to the United Kingdom. Mrs. Ahmed maintains she did not plan to return, noting that she took her optometry instruments and other valuables with her to the United States. Mr. Ahmed maintains he expected her to return in as little as a month. Mrs. Ahmed contends that she did not return to the United Kingdom because of her high-risk pregnancy and the acrimony in her marriage.

         Mr. Ahmed traveled to Knoxville in October 2014 on a three-month visa in anticipation of the birth of their children. That November, Mrs. Ahmed gave birth to twins in Knoxville. After a few days, the family moved into a local apartment, where ...


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