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Soldier walks for his daughter and the United States Military

Richmond, Va. -- Imagine serving your country overseas only to find that the fight of your life must happen in a foreign court. That’s what Jeff Chafin and other American military service member’s face.

On Father’s Day, June 17, Chafin, a Soldier with the U.S. Army, will begin a walk from Fort Lee, Virginia to Washington D.C. He is walking to raise funds and educate the public about his fight to get his daughter Eris home safely from Scotland. He is also hand delivering a bill to Capitol Hill that if passed by Congress, would help protect the

children of our military service members and U.S. tax payers’ money.

Though Eris Chafin should have been protected under the International Child Abduction Remedies Act (ICARA), the vagueness of this law inhibits U.S. Judges from making sound decisions when presented with cases seeking its remedies.

The main goal of ICARA is to determine the habitual residence of a child who is believed to be kidnapped or wrongfully retained in another country. As the U.S. Military has presence all over the world, international marriages are more common than ever as are cases involving the legal residency of their children. It is the taxpayer who pays to move the international families to the United States and should the foreign national spouse decide to leave the United States with the children, it is the taxpayer who pays for any court proceedings. A more defined addition to ICARA needs to be enacted to help protect not only the children of those service members, but also the tax payer’s money.

Chafin’s goal is to compel congress to amend the ICARA law to clearly state that: If the United States moves the family of a service member to the U.S., then the foreign spouse submits to personal jurisdiction of the U.S. court system. If the U.S. taxpayer’s dollars moves a family to the U.S., then their habitual residence would be the U.S. and that such move by the family demonstrates intent to abandon their former country of residence.

If such amendment currently existed then Eris Chafin would not have been sent to Scotland as it is clearly documented that the United States Army moved her and her mother to the U.S. with all their worldly possessions.

Without intervention of the United States Supreme Court, Chafin will be forced to fight for his daughter in the Scottish Court System.

Story of Eris