Maimouna Coulibaly v. Eric Stevance

FILED Oct 25 2017, 7:33 am CLERK Indiana Supreme Court Court of Appeals and Tax Court ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Katherine A. Harmon Michael A. Wilkins Jared S. Sunday Nissa M. Ricafort Indianapolis, Indiana Erin M. Durnell Indianapolis, Indiana IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF INDIANA Maimouna Coulibaly, October 25, 2017 Appellant-Petitioner, Court of Appeals Case No. 49A02-1702-DR-235 v. Appeal from the Marion Superior Court Eric Stevance, The Honorable John M.T. Chavis, Appellee-Respondent II, Judge The Honorable Victoria Ransberger, Magistrate Trial Court Cause No. 49D05-1602-DR-7130 Altice, Judge. Case Summary [1] Maimouna Coulibaly (Mother) appeals from the trial court’s finding that it lacked jurisdiction to modify a child custody order issued in the west-African Court of Appeals of Indiana | Opinion 49A02-1702-DR-235 | October 25, 2017 Page 1 of 18 nation of Mali in favor of Eric Stevance (Father). On appeal, Mother argues that the trial court erred in concluding that it was required to enforce the Malian court’s order under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) as codified in Indiana. Specifically, Mother argues that the trial court erred in concluding that the Malian order was not the product of laws that violate fundamental human rights. [2] We affirm.1 Facts & Procedural History [3] Mother and Father are both dual citizens of France and Mali. They were married in Mali in 2001 and had two children, a daughter born in 2002 and a son born in 2004, who are also dual citizens of Mali and France. Father is a computer science engineer, and throughout the marriage and thereafter, he has operated a company that provides internet service in Mali. Mother is a physician, and she and the children lived in France with Father’s consent from 2005 until 2007 while pursuing her Master’s degree in epidemiology. Father remained in Mali during this time but visited Mother and the children regularly. Mother returned to Mali in 2007, where she practiced as an OB/GYN. Mother wished to immigrate to Canada, and she and Father both filed the necessary 1 We held oral argument in this matter on September 21, 2017. We thank counsel for the quality of their written and oral advocacy. Court of Appeals of Indiana | Opinion 49A02-1702-DR-235 | October 25, 2017 Page 2 of 18 paperwork to do so. At some point, however, Father made it clear that he did not want to leave Mali or the business he ran there. [4] The marriage subsequently deteriorated, and Father filed a petition for divorce in Mali on March 14, 2008. Mother and Father appeared before a conciliatory magistrate and were ordered to participate in a six-month reconciliation period. A few months later, Mother retained counsel and asked the Malian court to waive the reconciliation period and rule on the divorce petition. Both parties appeared at the final hearing with counsel and presented evidence. At the hearing, Mother indicated that she wished to live outside of Mali and she alleged that Father had been physically abusive to her. ...

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