Suburban Woman to Ask Judge to Return Son From Ireland

Orland Park woman engaged in bitter international custody battle with former boyfriend

It's a custody case that has spanned county, state, federal and international courts, but an Orland Park woman may find a measure of resolution on Friday.

Mary Redmond met Derek Redmond in Ireland. The couple never married, but in 2006, she became pregnant.

The couple had a son, Jack, who was born in the United States.

The family lived in Ireland, but the couple's relationship fell apart quickly, and seven months later, Mary brought her son back to the U.S.

Over the next five years, Derek Redmond won several judgments awarding him joint custody and a federal judge ruled Jack should be returned to Ireland. In 2012, mother and son said goodbye at O'Hare Airport.

But Mary kept fighting, and the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in her favor last July, determining Jack's "habitual" home is in the United States. The court ruled Jack should be returned to the United States, while his parents continue their custody fight in family court.

On Friday, her lawyers will ask the judge to order Derek Redmond to return Jack to the United States.

"The last thing I want is for him to think I gave up on him," Mary said.

But neither parent is willing to give up the fight. Derek Redmond's attorney David Schaffer says they've filed a request in Cook County "to register the initial custody determination made in Ireland that both parties vigorously participated in for several years. Both parties were awarded joint custody of their son in Ireland. That has not changed."

Having violated the Irish custody decision, Mary Redmond fears she'll be jailed if she returns to Ireland.

Schaffer insists that's not true.

"If she returns to Ireland she must immediately appear before the family court to make amends. Ireland has previously made it clear to the state court here that they have no desire to jail the mother of a young child," Shaffer says.

Mary believes Jack's permanent home is back in Orland Park. She says the last 15 months away from her son have been difficult, but the phone calls and videos of Jack keep her going.

"I find it hard to have energy to do anything. I find it hard to be motivated, to keep going. But when I talk to Jack, it's definitely something worth fighting for," she said.

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