An area soldier hopes the U.S. Supreme Court will help him and other members of the military in custody battles.
The U.S. Supreme Court in December will hear an international custody case involving a soldier from Kansas and a woman from Scotland. Sgt. First Class Jeff Chafin is fighting to see his daughter, who is currently living overseas.
It is rare for the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a custody case. In this case, Chafin says he would not stop fighting to see his daughter. His plight could help other military parents.
Chafin and his family proudly play a home video of the young girl reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Five-year-old Eris' grandmother clings to videos, pictures and Skype phone calls.
"It is such a joy when we do," Sharon Feden said. "She's like ‘Nanna, Nanna I'm here,' but she also asks to come home."
Exactly where Eris calls home could be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Chafin met his wife Lynne while stationed in Germany. They eventually moved to Alabama. Chafin was deployed to Afghanistan.
Chafin says she had overstayed her visa and was charged with alcohol and domestic violence charges. Eris' mother was deported to Scotland after Chafin filed for divorce.
"When she got back to Scotland she filed international child abduction retention charges against him," Feden said.
Chafin cared for Eris for about 10 months until a judge ruled Eris belonged with her mother overseas.
"She made the statement every child needs their mother," Feden said about the judge's ruling. "We believe every child needs both their parents. We are fighting for equal parenting."
In October, the mother returned with her daughter to Scotland.
The family is praying the U.S. Supreme Court will grant Chafin an appeal and protect military families from losing contact with their children.
"My heart is broken because I see my son struggling because Eris is his life," Feden said.
Family and friends are holding a tent fundraiser to pay for the cost of Chafin's attorneys. The event will be held at 6901 Lamar, Overland Park on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
About 50 families have already helped raise funds to pay for Chafin's legal bills.
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear the case in December. To view the family's website you can click here.
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