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January 04, 2005

US court gives SA woman custody of child

A SA woman, Hayley Reyersbach, has been granted full custody of her three-year-old daughter by a US court after two years of legal battles in SA and America. The Daily News reports the first court ruling was in February 2003 when the Durban High Court ruled that Reyersbach, who had fled the US six months earlier with her 16-month-old daughter, must return Alyssa to her father, Robert Pennello, in New Jersey. Reyersbach appealed against the decision in the Pietermaritzburg High court, which ruled that Alyssa could remain with her mother until the custody hearing was finalised. Pennello, however, appealed against this decision and in July he and Reyersbach divorced, leaving her without a green card. In December 2003, the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein ruled that Reyersbach and Alyssa must return to New Jersey. The order to return to New Jersey was granted under the provisions of The Hague Convention, which deems Reyersbach's actions in America in leaving the country with her daughter to be child abduction. Her final appeal to the Constitutional Court was refused.
Full report in the Daily News


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