Boy Caught in International Custody Battle

Courts order boy, 5, to live with his father in Ireland

With his mother in tears, a 5-year-old boy caught in an international custody battle followed court orders and boarded a plane Tuesday night to be reunited with his father in Ireland.

"I'm shattered. My heart is breaking. I have to say goodbye to my son and I don't know when I'll see him again," said Mary Redmond.

Her son, Jack Redmond, was born in Illinois and raised here for all but a few months of his life. His parents were never married, but his Irish father filed for joint custody after the couple split. Jack has dual citizenship and Irish courts and The Hague ordered that he be returned to Ireland.

Mary Redmond argues that many errors were made in the ruling and refused to bring him back.

"He is so loved and so taken care of, and he belongs home in America, and I don't know why America isn't keeping him home," the boy's grandmother, Peggy Redmond, sobbed.

But now there's no choice. Both a federal judge and a Cook County Judge ordered the boy with his father. Mary Redmond, facing contempt of court charges, will remain in the Chicago area.

Peggy Redmond traveled with the boy on a one-way ticket, vowing to remain in Ireland until she can bring Jack home.

"Somebody has to intercede and -- so I can just land and turn around and get Jack home where he belongs," the grandmother said.

The father's attorney alleges Mary Redmond tried "gaming the system" at her son's expense.

"The system worked, as it should, and Jack Redmond is where he should have been almost two years ago. That is why we have the Hague Convention and that is why all of the courts Mary Redmond appeared before, both in Ireland and the United States consistently ruled the way they did," said attorney David Schaffer.

Editor's Note: This report was originally published on July 10, 2012. 

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