Court of Appeals of Texas, Second District, Fort Worth
In the Interest of S.E. and E.E., Minor Children
Appeal from the 442nd District Court Denton County, Texas
Trial Court No. 18-6826-16
Sudderth, C.J.; Gabriel and Wallach, JJ. 
Sudderth Chief Justice
and E.E. were born in Michigan and lived there with their
parentsâ Appellant Father, a citizen of Argentina, and
Appellee Mother, a citizen of the United Statesâuntil Father
was deported in September 2015. After the family moved to
Argentina, Father and Mother separated. In September 2017,
Mother received permission from a court in Argentina to take
the children back to the United States for 90 days. After
Mother's father died on December 3, 2017, Mother
petitioned for an extension of time to keep the children
abroad, but the Argentine court denied her request and
ordered her to return the children by January 26, 2018.
Mother did not comply.
August 2, 2018, Father filed a verified petition in Denton
County district court under the 1980 Hague Convention on the
Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague
Convention) and the International Child Abduction Remedies
Act (ICARA), which implemented the treaty in the United
States, seeking S.E. and E.E.'s return to
Argentina. See 22 U.S.C.A. §§
9001–9011. In his petition, Father alleged that the
children had been habitually resident in Argentina under
article 3 of the Hague Convention and that the children were
wrongfully removed from Argentina and wrongfully retained in
the United States under articles 3 and 5 of the Hague
Convention. He sought issuance of a show cause order to be
served on Mother for a hearing and asked for permission to
appear by video or telephonically if he could not obtain a
humanitarian visa to enter the United States for the hearing.
See Tex. Fam. Code Ann. §§
responded that the children's habitual residence was the
United States-not Argentina-such that the Hague Convention
did not apply. She further asserted that if the Hague
Convention applied, then the "grave risk"
exception-that the children's return would expose them to
a grave risk of physical or psychological harm or otherwise
place them in an intolerable situation-required the trial
court to deny Father's request.
hearing that lasted several days, the trial court issued an
order denying Father's petition. In his first issue,
Father argues that the evidence is factually insufficient to
support the trial court's conclusion that there is a
grave risk that returning the children would expose them to
physical or psychological harm or would place them in an
intolerable situation. In his second issue, Father argues
that the evidence is legally insufficient to support the
trial court's finding that there is no evidence of
ameliorative measures or undertakings to reduce the grave
risk of harm to the children. We will affirm without reaching
either of these issues. See Tex. R. App. P. 47.1.
August 28, 2018, the trial court started the hearing on
Father's petition. Father appeared by video transmission
(Skype) and through his attorney, and Mother appeared in
person and through her attorney. The trial court heard
evidence over the course of three days. After denying
Father's petition, and upon his request, the trial court
issued the following findings of fact:
1. Petitioner, [Father], is a citizen of Argentina.
2. Respondent, [Mother], is a citizen of the United States of
3. The parties lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan when the children
the subject of this suit, S.G.E. and E.G.E., were born . . .
4. [Father] was ordered to be removed or deported by the U.S.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement on June 23, 2015 and
cannot reenter the United States of America for a period of
5. On September 20, 2015, the parties and children moved to
San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina and established a
6. In May of 2016, [Father] and [Mother] separated.
7. Upon separation, [Father] and [Mother] agreed to evenly
divide the children's time in a fifty/fifty possession
schedule in which each parent had the children for three and
a half days every week.
8. The children lived in Argentina and attended school in
Argentina in 2016 and 2017.
9. In August of 2017, pursuant to [Mother's] request, the
Argentina court permitted her to travel to the United States
of America with the children.
10. [Mother] traveled with the children on or about September
13, 2017 to the United States of America pursuant to the
Argentinian court's order permitting the children to
travel with her until December 10, 2017.
11. On December 6, 2017, [Mother] requested an extension of
the time the children were permitted to remain in the United
12. On January 11, 2018, the Argentinian court denied that
extension and ordered [Mother] to return the children to San
Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina within fifteen days--by
January 26, 2018.
13. [Mother] failed and refused to return the children to San
Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina by January 26, 2018.
14. The children's habitual residence under the Hague
Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child
Abduction when they were wrongfully retained in the United
States of ...