Chafin v. Chafin Page 2

Chafin v. Chafin general information

Media for Chafin v. Chafin

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 05, 2012 in Chafin v. Chafin

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - February 19, 2013 in Chafin v. Chafin

John G. Roberts, Jr.:

Now, Mr. Chafin also wants the order that he pay Ms. Chafin $94,000 overturned.

Again, Ms. Chafin argues that Mr. Chafin will not succeed because he did not separately appeal that order, but that's beside the point.

Remember, for mootness purposes, we ask whether if Mr. Chafin succeeds, the relief ordered will be effectual, it would be.

Relief in the form of not having to pay $94,000 would not be entirely satisfactory to Mr. Chafin.

His daughter would remain in Scotland.

But $94,000 is $94,000 and it's enough to keep the case alive.

For these reasons, the Court of Appeals should not have dismissed this case as moot.

Instead, it should have decided it.

We send the case back to the court below to do just that.

Our opinion ends by noting how important it is that these cases be decided as quickly as possible.

The best interest of the child demand that custody proceedings begin promptly and nothing about our ruling today prevents that, quite the opposite.

We think that if these cases did become moot between trial and appeal, courts might grant stays in virtually every case holding up the effectiveness of their opinion to prevent parties from loosing any right to appeal, but then children would loose precious months when they could've been readjusting to life in their country of habitual residence.

Instead, we think courts should carefully balance several factors, including the best interest of the child in deciding whether or not the grant stays pending appeal and courts should take every effort to decide these cases as quickly as possible so that stability can be returned to the lives of these children and their parents.

Our opinion is unanimous.

Justice Ginsburg has filed a concurring opinion in which Justices Scalia and Breyer joined.