Overland Park father heads to Supreme Court in international custody battle


An Overland Park soldier's international custody battle goes before the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday, and he will have some high profile support when he arrives in Washington.

The members of a local VFW are just one of the organizations showing support for Sgt. 1st Class Jeff Chafin as he prepares for his case.

The community has rallied behind Chafin and his family with fundraisers to pay for his legal fees. Chafin is fighting a different kind of fight, an international custody battle that could be a landmark case for military parents.

"[It] depends on how the Supreme Court rules. They are trying to determine habitual residence. It is either going to be here or Scotland," Chafin said. "I'm going as far as I can until I have no, I cannot possibly go any further. I'm not going to stop fighting for my daughter."

The case began when Chafin met his wife while stationed in Germany. He was deployed to Afghanistan, and then the family moved to Alabama.

While in Alabama, he says his wife was arrested for public intoxication and domestic violence. She was ultimately deported to Scotland.

After Chafin filed for divorce, his wife filed a petition for return of their child to Scotland under the Hague Convention's Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

An Alabama judge sided with his wife and in October 2011, his wife took little Eris to Scotland.

Chafin's family members are also in Washington this week for support.

"[I have] lots of nerves about going, but feeling overjoyed we actually get to go to the Supreme Court because it is a chance for an appeal," Chafin's mother, Sharon Chafin-Feden, said.

Three different court filings show support for Chafin, including a brief filed by the Solicitor General of the United States, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the U.S. Department of Justice.

If the Supreme Court justices side with Chafin, his family believes he will get an appeal in Alabama.

Click here to read previous coverage.

Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.


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