OCTOBER TERM, 2019 Syllabus NOTE: Where it is feasible, a syllabus (headnote) will be released, as is being done in connection with this case, at the time the opinion is issued. The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has been prepared by the Reporter of Decisions for the convenience of the reader. See United States v. Detroit Timber & Lumber Co., 200 U. S. 321, 337. SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES Syllabus MONASKY v. TAGLIERI CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT No. 18–935. Argued December 11, 2019—Decided February 25, 2020 The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Ab-duction (Hague Convention or Convention), implemented in the United States by the International Child Abduction Remedies Act, 22U. S. C. §9001 et seq., provides that a child wrongfully removed from her country of "habitual residence" ordinarily must be returned to that country.Petitioner Monasky, a U. S. citizen, asserts that her Italian hus-band, respondent Taglieri, became abusive after the couple moved to Italy from the United States. Two months after the birth of the cou-ple's daughter, A. M. T., in Italy, Monasky fled with the infant to Ohio. Taglieri petitioned the U. S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio for A. M. T.'s return to Italy under the Convention, pursuant to22 U. S. C. §9003(b), on the ground that the child had been wrongfullyremoved from her country of "habitual residence." The District Court granted Taglieri's petition, concluding that the parents' shared intentwas for their daughter to live in Italy. Then two-year-old A. M. T. was returned to Italy. The en banc Sixth Circuit affirmed. Under its prec-edent, the court first noted, an infant's habitual residence depends on the parents' shared intent. It then reviewed the District Court's habitual-residence determination for clear error and found none. In doing so, the court rejected Monasky's argument that Italy could not qualify as A. M. T.'s "habitual residence" in the absence of an actual agreement by her parents to raise her there. Held: 1. A child's habitual residence depends on the totality of the circum-stances specific to the case, not on categorical requirements such as anactual agreement between the parents. Pp. 7–14.(a) The inquiry begins with the Convention's text "and the context
2 MONASKY v. TAGLIERI Syllabus in which the written words are used." Air France v. Saks, 470 U. S. 392, 397. The Convention does not define "habitual residence," but, as the Convention's text and explanatory report indicate, a child habitu-ally resides where she is at home. This fact-driven inquiry must be"sensitive to the unique circumstances of the case and informed by common sense." Redmond v. Redmond, 724 F. 3d 729, 744. Acclima-tion of older children and the intentions and circumstances of caregiv-ing parents are relevant considerations, but no single fact is dispositiveacross all cases. The treaty's "negotiation and drafting history" cor-roborates that habitual residence depends on the specific circum-stances of the particular case. Medellín v. Texas, 552 U. S. 491, 507. This interpretation also aligns with habitual-residence determinationsmade by other nations party to the Convention. Pp. 7–12.(b) Monasky's arguments in favor of an actual-agreement require-ment are unpersuasive. While an infant's "mere physical presence" is not a dispositive indicator of an infant's habitual residence, a wide range of facts other than an actual agreement, including those indicat-ing that the parents have made their home in a particular place, can enable a trier to determine whether an infant's residence has the qual-ity of being "habitual." Nor is adjudicating a dispute over whether an agreement existed a more expeditious way of promoting returns of ab-ducted children and deterring would-be abductors than according courts leeway to consider all the circumstances. Finally, imposing a categorical actual-agreement requirement is unlikely to be an appro-priate solution to the serious problem of protecting children born into domestic violence, for it would leave many infants without a habitualresidence, and therefore outside the Convention's domain. Domestic violence should be an issue fully explored in the custody adjudication upon the child's return. The Convention also has a mechanism for guarding children from the harms of domestic violence: Article 13(b)allows a court to refrain from ordering a child's return to her habitualresidence if "there is a grave risk that [the child's] return would exposethe child to physical or psychological harm or otherwise place the child in an intolerable situation." Pp. 12–14.2. A first-instance habitual-residence determination is subject to deferential appellate review for clear error. A trial court's habitual-residence determination presents a mixed question of law and fact that is heavily fact laden. The determination thus presents a task for fact-finding courts and should be judged on appeal by a clear-error review standard. See U. S. Bank N. A. v. Village at Lakeridge, LLC, 583 U. S. ___, ___–___. There is no "historical tradition" indicating otherwise. Pierce v. Underwood, 487 U. S. 552, 558. Clear-error review has a par-ticular virtue in Hague Convention cases: By speeding up appeals, it serves the Convention's emphasis on expedition. Notably, courts of
3 Cite as: 589 U. S. ____ (2020) Syllabus other treaty partners also review first-instance habitual-residence de-terminations deferentially. Pp. 14–16. 3. Given the circumstances of this case, it is unnecessary to disturb the judgment below and remand the case to give the lower courts an opportunity to apply the governing totality-of-the-circumstances standard in the first instance. Pp. 16–17. 907 F. 3d 404, affirmed. GINSBURG, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and BREYER, SOTOMAYOR, KAGAN, GORSUCH, and KAVANAUGH, JJ., joined, and in which THOMAS, J., joined as to Parts I, III, and IV. THOMAS, J., and ALITO, J., filed opinions concurring in part and concurring in the judgment.
_________________ _________________ 1 Cite as: 589 U. S. ____ (2020) Opinion of the Court NOTICE: This opinion is subject to formal revision before publication in the preliminary print of the United States Reports. Readers are requested to notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Court of the United States, Wash-ington, D. C. 20543, of any typographical or other formal errors, in order that corrections may be made before the preliminary print goes to press. SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES No. 18–935 MICHELLE MONASKY, PETITIONER v. DOMENICO TAGLIERI ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT [February 25, 2020] JUSTICE GINSBURG delivered the opinion of the Court. Under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of In-ternational Child Abduction (Hague Convention or Conven-tion), Oct. 25, 1980, T. I. A. S. No. 11670, S. Treaty Doc. No. 99–11 (Treaty Doc.), a child wrongfully removed from hercountry of "habitual residence" ordinarily must be returnedto that country. This case concerns the standard for deter-mining a child's "habitual residence" and the standard for reviewing that determination on appeal. The petitioner,Michelle Monasky, is a U. S. citizen who brought her infant daughter, A. M. T., to the United States from Italy after her Italian husband, Domenico Taglieri, became abusive to Monasky. Taglieri successfully petitioned the District Court for A. M. T.'s return to Italy under the Convention, and the Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court's order. Monasky assails the District Court's determination that Italy was A. M. T.'s habitual residence. First of the ques-tions presented: Could Italy qualify as A. M. T.'s "habitual residence" in the absence of an actual agreement by her parents to raise her there? The second question: Should the
2 MONASKY v. TAGLIERI Opinion of the Court Court of Appeals have reviewed the District Court's habitual-residence determination independently rather than def- erentially? In accord with decisions of the courts of other countries party to the Convention, we hold that a child's ha-bitual residence depends on the totality of the circum-stances specific to the case. An actual agreement betweenthe parents is not necessary to establish an infant's habit-ual residence. We further hold that a first-instance habitual-residence determination is subject to deferential appel- late review for clear error. I A The Hague Conference on Private International Law adopted the Hague Convention in 1980 "[t]o address the problem of international child abductions during domestic disputes." Lozano v. Montoya Alvarez, 572 U. S. 1, 4 (2014) (internal quotation marks omitted). One hundred one coun-tries, including the United States and Italy, are Convention signatories. Hague Conference on Private Int'l Law, Con-vention of 25 Oct. 1980 on the Civil Aspects of Int'l Child Ab-duction, Status Table, https://www.hcch.net/en/instruments/ conventions/status-table/?cid=24. The International Child Abduction Remedies Act (ICARA), 102 Stat. 437, as amended, 22 U. S. C. §9001 et seq., implements our Na-tion's obligations under the Convention. It is the Conven-tion's core premise that "the interests of children . . . in mat-ters relating to their custody" are best served when custodydecisions are made in the child's country of "habitual resi-dence." Convention Preamble, Treaty Doc., at 7; see Abbott v. Abbott, 560 U. S. 1, 20 (2010). To that end, the Convention ordinarily requires theprompt return of a child wrongfully removed or retainedaway from the country in which she habitually resides. Art. 12, Treaty Doc., at 9 (cross-referencing Art. 3, id., at 7). The removal or retention is wrongful if done in violation of the
3 Cite as: 589 U. S. ____ (2020) Opinion of the Court custody laws of the child's habitual residence. Art. 3, ibid. The Convention recognizes certain exceptions to the returnobligation. Prime among them, a child's return is not inorder if the return would place her at a "grave risk" of harmor otherwise in "an intolerable situation." Art. 13(b), id., at 10. The Convention's return requirement is a "provisional" remedy that fixes the forum for custody proceedings. Sil-berman, Interpreting the Hague Abduction Convention: InSearch of a Global Jurisprudence, 38 U. C. D. L. Rev. 1049, 1054 (2005). Upon the child's return, the custody adjudica-tion will proceed in that forum. See ibid. To avoid delayingthe custody proceeding, the Convention instructs contract-ing states to "use the most expeditious procedures avail-able" to return the child to her habitual residence. Art. 2, Treaty Doc., at 7. See also Art. 11, id., at 9 (prescribing sixweeks as normal time for return-order decisions). B In 2011, Monasky and Taglieri were married in theUnited States. Two years later, they relocated to Italy,where they both found work. Neither then had definite plans to return to the United States. During their first yearin Italy, Monasky and Taglieri lived together in Milan. But the marriage soon deteriorated. Taglieri became physically abusive, Monasky asserts, and "forced himself upon [her] multiple times." 907 F. 3d 404, 406 (CA6 2018) (en banc). About a year after their move to Italy, in May 2014, Monasky became pregnant. Taglieri thereafter took up new employment in the town of Lugo, while Monasky, who did not speak Italian, remained about three hours away in Mi-lan. The long-distance separation and a difficult pregnancy further strained their marriage. Monasky looked into re-turning to the United States. She applied for jobs there,asked about U. S. divorce lawyers, and obtained cost infor-mation from moving companies. At the same time, though,
4 MONASKY v. TAGLIERI Opinion of the Court she and Taglieri made preparations to care for their ex-pected child in Italy. They inquired about childcare options there, made purchases needed for their baby to live in Italy,and found a larger apartment in a Milan suburb. Their daughter, A. M. T., was born in February 2015.Shortly thereafter, Monasky told Taglieri that she wantedto divorce him, a matter they had previously broached, and that she anticipated returning to the United States. Later, however, she agreed to join Taglieri, together with A. M. T., in Lugo. The parties dispute whether they reconciled while together in that town.On March 31, 2015, after yet another heated argument,Monasky fled with her daughter to the Italian police and sought shelter in a safe house. In a written statement to the police, Monasky alleged that Taglieri had abused her and that she feared for her life. Two weeks later, in April2015, Monasky and two-month-old A. M. T. left Italy for Ohio, where they moved in with Monasky's parents. Taglieri sought recourse in the courts. With Monasky ab-sent from the proceedings, an Italian court granted Ta-glieri's request to terminate Monasky's parental rights, dis-crediting her statement to the Italian police. App. 183. In the United States, on May 15, 2015, Taglieri petitioned theU. S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio for the return of A. M. T. to Italy under the Hague Convention, pursuant to 22 U. S. C. §9003(b), on the ground that Italywas her habitual residence. The District Court granted Taglieri's petition after a four-day bench trial. Sixth Circuit precedent at the time, theDistrict Court observed, instructed courts that a child ha-bitually resides where the child has become "acclimatiz[ed]"to her surroundings. App. to Pet. for Cert. 85a (quoting Robert v. Tesson, 507 F. 3d 981, 993 (CA6 2007)). An infant, however, is "too young" to acclimate to her surroundings.App. to Pet. for Cert. 87a. The District Court therefore pro-ceeded on the assumption that "the shared intent of the
5 Cite as: 589 U. S. ____ (2020) Opinion of the Court [parents] is relevant in determining the habitual residenceof an infant," though "particular facts and circumstances . . . might necessitate the consideration [of] other factors." Id., at 97a. The shared intention of A. M. T.'s parents, the District Court found, was for their daughter to live in Italy, where the parents had established a marital home "with nodefinitive plan to return to the United States." Ibid. Even if Monasky could change A. M. T.'s habitual residence uni-laterally by making plans to raise A. M. T. away from Italy,the District Court added, the evidence on that score indi-cated that, until the day she fled her husband, Monasky had "no definitive plans" to raise A. M. T. in the United States. Id., at 98a. In line with its findings, the District Court ordered A. M. T.'s prompt return to Italy. The Sixth Circuit and this Court denied Monasky's re-quests for a stay of the return order pending appeal. 907 F. 3d, at 407. In December 2016, A. M. T., nearly two yearsold, was returned to Italy and placed in her father's care.1 In the United States, Monasky's appeal of the District Court's return order proceeded. See Chafin v. Chafin, 568 U. S. 165, 180 (2013) (the return of a child under the Hague Convention does not moot an appeal of the return order). A divided three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit affirmed theDistrict Court's order, and a divided en banc court adhered to that disposition.The en banc majority noted first that, after the District Court's decision, a precedential Sixth Circuit opinion, Ah-med v. Ahmed, 867 F. 3d 682 (2017), established that, asthe District Court had assumed, an infant's habitual resi-dence depends on "shared parental intent." 907 F. 3d, at —————— 1Taglieri represents that "[a]n order issued by the Italian court in De-cember 2018 awarded legal custody of A. M. T., on an interim basis, to the Lugo municipality . . . with placement at [Taglieri's] residence; and provided that mother-daughter visits would continue under the plan pre-scribed in a court order issued earlier in 2018." Brief for Respondent 56, n. 13.
7 Cite as: 589 U. S. ____ (2020) Opinion of the Court appellate review. Compare, e.g., 907 F. 3d, at 408–409 (case below) (clear error), with, e.g., Mozes, 239 F. 3d, at 1073 (de novo). II The first question presented concerns the standard forhabitual residence: Is an actual agreement between theparents on where to raise their child categorically necessaryto establish an infant's habitual residence? We hold that the determination of habitual residence does not turn on the existence of an actual agreement. A We begin with "the text of the treaty and the context in which the written words are used." Air France v. Saks, 470 U. S. 392, 397 (1985). The Hague Convention does not de-fine the term "habitual residence." A child "resides" where she lives. See Black's Law Dictionary 1176 (5th ed. 1979).Her residence in a particular country can be deemed "ha-bitual," however, only when her residence there is morethan transitory. "Habitual" implies "[c]ustomary, usual, ofthe nature of a habit." Id., at 640. The Hague Convention's text alone does not definitively tell us what makes a child's residence sufficiently enduring to be deemed "habitual." It surely does not say that habitual residence depends on anactual agreement between a child's parents. But the term "habitual" does suggest a fact-sensitive inquiry, not a cate-gorical one.The Convention's explanatory report confirms what theConvention's text suggests. The report informs that habit-ual residence is a concept "well-established . . . in the Hague Conference." 1980 Conférence de La Haye de droit international privé, Enlčvement d'enfants, E. Pérez-Vera,
8 MONASKY v. TAGLIERI Opinion of the Court Explanatory Report in 3 Actes et documents de la Qua-torzičme session, p. 445, ¶66 (1982) (Pérez-Vera).2 The re-port refers to a child's habitual residence in fact-focused terms: "the family and social environment in which [the child's] life has developed." Id., at 428, ¶11. What makes a child's residence "habitual" is therefore "some degree of in-tegration by the child in a social and family environment." OL v. PQ, 2017 E. C. R. No. C–111/17, ¶42 (Judgt. of June8); accord Office of the Children's Lawyer v. Balev,  1S. C. R. 398, 421, ¶43, 424 D. L. R. (4th) 391, 410, ¶43 (Can.); A v. A,  A. C., ¶54 (2013) (U. K.). Accordingly,while Federal Courts of Appeals have diverged, if only inemphasis, in the standards they use to locate a child's ha-bitual residence, see supra, at 6, they share a "common"understanding: The place where a child is at home, at the time of removal or retention, ranks as the child's habitual residence. Karkkainen v. Kovalchuk, 445 F. 3d 280, 291 (CA3 2006).Because locating a child's home is a fact-driven inquiry,courts must be "sensitive to the unique circumstances of the case and informed by common sense." Redmond, 724 F. 3d, at 744. For older children capable of acclimating to their surroundings, courts have long recognized, facts indicating —————— 2According to an analysis provided by the Department of State to theSenate during the ratification process, the "explanatory report is recog-nized by the [Hague] Conference as the official history and commentary on the Convention and is a source of background on the meaning of theprovisions of the Convention." Hague International Child Abduction Convention; Text and Legal Analysis, 51 Fed. Reg. 10503 (1986). The explanatory report notes, however, that "it has not been approved by theConference, and it is possible that, despite the Rapporter's [sic] efforts toremain objective, certain passages reflect a viewpoint which is in part subjective." Pérez-Vera 427–428, ¶8. See Abbott v. Abbott, 560 U. S. 1, 19 (2010) ("We need not decide whether this Report should be given greater weight than a scholarly commentary.").
9 Cite as: 589 U. S. ____ (2020) Opinion of the Court acclimatization will be highly relevant.3 Because children, especially those too young or otherwise unable to acclimate, depend on their parents as caregivers, the intentions andcircumstances of caregiving parents are relevant consider-ations. No single fact, however, is dispositive across all cases. Common sense suggests that some cases will be straightforward: Where a child has lived in one place with her family indefinitely, that place is likely to be her habit-ual residence. But suppose, for instance, that an infantlived in a country only because a caregiving parent had been coerced into remaining there. Those circumstances should figure in the calculus. See Karkkainen, 445 F. 3d, at 291 ("The inquiry into a child's habitual residence is afact-intensive determination that cannot be reduced to a predetermined formula and necessarily varies with the cir-cumstances of each case.").The treaty's "negotiation and drafting history" corrobo-rates that a child's habitual residence depends on the spe-cific circumstances of the particular case. Medellín v. Texas, 552 U. S. 491, 507 (2008) (noting that such history may aid treaty interpretation). The Convention's explana-tory report states that the Hague Conference regarded ha-bitual residence as "a question of pure fact, differing in thatrespect from domicile." Pérez-Vera 445, ¶66. The Confer-ence deliberately chose "habitual residence" for its factual character, making it the foundation for the Convention's re-turn remedy in lieu of formal legal concepts like domicile —————— 3Facts courts have considered include: "a change in geography com-bined with the passage of an appreciable period of time," "age of the child," "immigration status of child and parent," "academic activities," "social engagements," "participation in sports programs and excursions," "meaningful connections with the people and places in the child's new country," "language proficiency," and "location of personal belongings." Federal Judicial Center, J. Garbolino, The 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction: A Guide for Judges 67–68 (2d ed. 2015).
10 MONASKY v. TAGLIERI Opinion of the Court and nationality. See Anton, The Hague Convention on In-ternational Child Abduction, 30 Int'l & Comp. L. Q. 537,544 (1981) (history of the Convention authored by the draft-ing commission's chairman). That choice is instructive. The signatory nations sought to afford courts charged withdetermining a child's habitual residence "maximum flex-ibility" to respond to the particular circumstances of each case. P. Beaumont & P. McEleavy, The Hague Convention on International Child Abduction 89–90 (1999) (Beaumont & McEleavy). The aim: to ensure that custody is adjudi-cated in what is presumptively the most appropriate fo-rum—the country where the child is at home. Our conclusion that a child's habitual residence dependson the particular circumstances of each case is bolstered bythe views of our treaty partners. ICARA expressly recog-nizes "the need for uniform international interpretation ofthe Convention." 22 U. S. C. §9001(b)(3)(B). See Lozano, 572 U. S., at 13; Abbott, 560 U. S., at 16. The understand-ing that the opinions of our sister signatories to a treaty are due "considerable weight," this Court has said, has "specialforce" in Hague Convention cases. Ibid. (quoting El Al Is-rael Airlines, Ltd. v. Tsui Yuan Tseng, 525 U. S. 155, 176 (1999), in turn quoting Air France, 470 U. S., at 404). The "clear trend" among our treaty partners is to treat the de-termination of habitual residence as a fact-driven inquiryinto the particular circumstances of the case. Balev,  1 S. C. R., at 423, ¶50, 424 D. L. R. (4th), at 411, ¶50. Lady Hale wrote for the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom: A child's habitual residence "depends on numer-ous factors . . . with the purposes and intentions of the par-ents being merely one of the relevant factors. . . . The essen-tially factual and individual nature of the inquiry should not be glossed with legal concepts." A,  A. C., at ¶54. The Court of Justice of the European Union, the Supreme Court of Canada, and the High Court of Australia agree.
11 Cite as: 589 U. S. ____ (2020) Opinion of the Court See OL, 2017 E. C. R. No. C–111/17, ¶42 (the habitual res-idence of a child "must be established . . . taking account ofall the circumstances of fact specific to each individual case"); Balev,  1 S. C. R., at 421, 423–430, ¶¶43, 48–71, 424 D. L. R. (4th), at 410–417, ¶¶43, 48–71 (adopting an approach to habitual residence under which "[t]he judgeconsiders all relevant links and circumstances"); LK v. Director-General, Dept. of Community Servs.,  237C. L. R. 582, 596, ¶35 (Austl.) ("to seek to identify a set listof criteria that bear upon where a child is habitually resi-dent . . . would deny the simple observation that the ques-tion of habitual residence will fall for decision in a very widerange of circumstances"). Intermediate appellate courts inHong Kong and New Zealand have similarly stated what "habitual residence" imports. See LCYP v. JEK,  4H. K. L. R. D. 798, 809–810, ¶7.7 (H. K.); Punter v. Secre-tary for Justice,  1 N. Z. L. R. 40, 71, ¶130 (N. Z.). Tellingly, Monasky has not identified a single treaty part-ner that has adopted her actual-agreement proposal. See Tr. of Oral Arg. 9.4 The bottom line: There are no categorical requirementsfor establishing a child's habitual residence—least of all anactual-agreement requirement for infants. Monasky's pro-—————— 4Monasky disputes that foreign courts apply a totality-of-the- circumstances standard to infants, as opposed to older children. In this regard, she points out, the Court of Justice of the European Union in-structs that, "where 'the infant is in fact looked after by her mother,' 'it is necessary to assess the mother's integration in her social and familyenvironment' in the relevant country." Reply Brief 5–6 (quoting Mercredi v. Chaffe, 2010 E. C. R. I–14309, I–14379, ¶55). True, a caregiving par-ent's ties to the country at issue are highly relevant. But the Court of Justice did not hold that the caregiver's ties are the end of the inquiry. Rather, the deciding court must "tak[e] account of all the circumstances of fact specific to each individual case." Id., ¶56 (emphasis added) (alsoconsidering, among other factors, the infant's physical presence and du-ration of time in the country).
12 MONASKY v. TAGLIERI Opinion of the Court posed actual-agreement requirement is not only unsup-ported by the Convention's text and inconsistent with the leeway and international harmony the Conventiondemands; her proposal would thwart the Convention's "objects and purposes." Abbott, 560 U. S., at 20. An actual-agreement requirement would enable a parent, by with-holding agreement, unilaterally to block any finding of ha-bitual residence for an infant. If adopted, the requirementwould undermine the Convention's aim to stop unilateraldecisions to remove children across international borders. Moreover, when parents' relations are acrimonious, as is of-ten the case in controversies arising under the Convention, agreement can hardly be expected. In short, as the Court of Appeals observed below, "Monasky's approach would cre-ate a presumption of no habitual residence for infants, leav-ing the population most vulnerable to abduction the leastprotected." 907 F. 3d, at 410. B Monasky counters that an actual-agreement requirement is necessary to ensure "that an infant's mere physical pres-ence in a country has a sufficiently settled quality to bedeemed 'habitual.'" Brief for Petitioner 32. An infant's "mere physical presence," we agree, is not a dispositive in-dicator of an infant's habitual residence. But a wide rangeof facts other than an actual agreement, including facts in-dicating that the parents have made their home in a partic-ular place, can enable a trier to determine whether an in-fant's residence in that place has the quality of being "habitual." Monasky also argues that a bright-line rule like her pro-posed actual-agreement requirement would promoteprompt returns of abducted children and deter would-be ab-ductors from "tak[ing] their chances" in the first place. Id., at 35, 38. Adjudicating a winner-takes-all evidentiary dis-pute over whether an agreement existed, however, is
13 Cite as: 589 U. S. ____ (2020) Opinion of the Court scarcely more expeditious than providing courts with lee-way to make "a quick impression gained on a panoramic view of the evidence." Beaumont & McEleavy 103 (internalquotation marks omitted). When all the circumstances are in play, would-be abductors should find it more, not less,difficult to manipulate the reality on the ground, thus im-peding them from forging "artificial jurisdictional links . . . with a view to obtaining custody of a child." Pérez-Vera 428, ¶11.Finally, Monasky and amici curiae raise a troublesome matter: An actual-agreement requirement, they say, is nec-essary to protect children born into domestic violence. Brief for Petitioner 42–44; Brief for Sanctuary for Families et al. as Amici Curiae 11–20. Domestic violence poses an "intrac-table" problem in Hague Convention cases involving care-giving parents fleeing with their children from abuse. Hale, Taking Flight—Domestic Violence and Child Abduction, 70 Current Legal Prob. 3, 11 (2017). We doubt, however, that imposing a categorical actual-agreement requirement is anappropriate solution, for it would leave many infants with-out a habitual residence, and therefore outside the Conven-tion's domain. See supra, at 11–12. Settling the forum foradjudication of a dispute over a child's custody, of course,does not dispose of the merits of the controversy over cus-tody. Domestic violence should be an issue fully explored in the custody adjudication upon the child's return.The Hague Convention, we add, has a mechanism for guarding children from the harms of domestic violence: Article 13(b). See Hale, 70 Current Legal Prob., at 10–16 (on Hague Conference working group to develop a best- practices guide to the interpretation and application of Article 13(b) in cases involving domestic violence). Article 13(b), as noted supra, at 3, allows a court to refrain from ordering a child's return to her habitual residence if "there is a grave risk that [the child's] return would expose the child to phys-ical or psychological harm or otherwise place the child in an
14 MONASKY v. TAGLIERI Opinion of the Court intolerable situation." Art. 13(b), Treaty Doc., at 10.Monasky raised below an Article 13(b) defense to Taglieri'sreturn petition. In response, the District Court creditedMonasky's "deeply troubl[ing]" allegations of her exposure to Taglieri's physical abuse. App. to Pet. for Cert. 105a. But the District Court found "no evidence" that Taglieri ever abused A. M. T. or otherwise disregarded her well-being. Id., at 103a, 105a. That court also followed Circuit prece-dent disallowing consideration of psychological harm A. M. T. might experience due to separation from her mother. Id., at 102a. Monasky does not challenge thosedispositions in this Court. III Turning to the second question presented: What is the appropriate standard of appellate review of an initial adju-dicator's habitual-residence determination? Neither the Convention nor ICARA prescribes modes of appellate re-view, other than the directive to act "expeditiously." Art. 11, Treaty Doc., at 9; see Federal Judicial Center, J. Gar-bolino, The 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction: A Guide for Judges 162 (2d ed. 2015) (the Convention's "emphasis on prompt disposi-tion applies to appellate proceedings").5 Absent a treaty or statutory prescription, the appropriatelevel of deference to a trial court's habitual-residence deter-mination depends on whether that determination resolves a question of law, a question of fact, or a mixed question of law and fact. Generally, questions of law are reviewed —————— 5Monasky contends that only de novo review can satisfy "the need for uniform international interpretation of the Convention." 22 U. S. C. §9001(b)(3)(B). See Brief for Petitioner 19–21. However, ICARA's recog-nition of the need for harmonious international interpretation is hardly akin to the "clear statutory prescription" on the standard of appellate review that Congress has provided "[f]or some few trial court determina-tions." Pierce v. Underwood, 487 U. S. 552, 558 (1988)
Cite as: 589 U. S. ____ (2020) Opinion of the Court de novo and questions of fact, for clear error, while the ap-propriate standard of appellate review for a mixed question"depends . . . on whether answering it entails primarily le-gal or factual work." U. S. Bank N. A. v. Village at Lak-eridge, LLC, 583 U. S. ___, ___–___ (2018) (slip op., at 8–9). A child's habitual residence presents what U. S. law types a "mixed question" of law and fact—albeit barely so. Id., at ___ (slip op., at 7). The inquiry begins with a legal question: What is the appropriate standard for habitual res-idence? Once the trial court correctly identifies the govern-ing totality-of-the-circumstances standard, however, what remains for the court to do in applying that standard, as we explained supra, at 7–11, is to answer a factual question:Was the child at home in the particular country at issue? The habitual-residence determination thus presents a task for factfinding courts, not appellate courts, and should be judged on appeal by a clear-error review standard deferen-tial to the factfinding court. In selecting standards of appellate review, the Court hasalso asked whether there is "a long history of appellate practice" indicating the appropriate standard, for arriving at the standard from first principles can prove "uncom-monly difficult." Pierce v. Underwood, 487 U. S. 552, 558 (1988). Although some Federal Courts of Appeals have re-viewed habitual-residence determinations de novo, there has been no uniform, reasoned practice in this regard, noth-ing resembling "a historical tradition." Ibid. See also supra, at 6–7 (noting a Circuit split). Moreover, when a mixed question has a factual foundation as evident as thehabitual-residence inquiry here does, there is scant cause to default to historical practice.Clear-error review has a particular virtue in Hague Con-vention cases. As a deferential standard of review, clear-error review speeds up appeals and thus serves the Conven-tion's premium on expedition. See Arts. 2, 11, Treaty Doc., at 7, 9. Notably, courts of our treaty partners review first-
16 MONASKY v. TAGLIERI Opinion of the Court instance habitual-residence determinations deferentially.See, e.g., Balev,  1 S. C. R., at 419, ¶38, 424 D. L. R.(4th), at 408, ¶38; Punter,  1 N. Z. L. R., at 88, ¶204; AR v. RN,  UKSC 35, ¶18. IV Although agreeing with the manner in which the Courthas resolved the two questions presented, the UnitedStates, as an amicus curiae supporting neither party, sug-gests remanding to the Court of Appeals rather than affirm-ing that court's judgment. Brief for United States as Ami-cus Curiae 28. Ordinarily, we might take that course, giving the lower courts an opportunity to apply the gov-erning totality-of-the-circumstances standard in the first instance. Under the circumstances of this case, however, we decline to disturb the judgment below. True, the lower courts viewed A. M. T.'s situation through the lens of her parents' shared intentions. But, after a four-day bench trial, theDistrict Court had before it all the facts relevant to the dis-pute. Asked at oral argument to identify any additional fact the District Court did not digest, counsel for the UnitedStates offered none. Tr. of Oral Arg. 38. Monasky and Ta-glieri agree that their dispute "requires no 'further factual development,'" and neither party asks for a remand. Reply Brief 22 (quoting Brief for Respondent 54).Monasky does urge the Court to reverse if it rests A. M. T.'s habitual residence on all relevant circumstances. She points to her "absence of settled ties to Italy" and the "unsettled and unstable conditions in which A. M. T. re-sided in Italy." Reply Brief 19 (internal quotation marks and alteration omitted). The District Court considered the competing facts bearing on those assertions, however, in-cluding the fraught circumstances in which the parties' marriage unraveled. That court nevertheless found that Monasky had sufficient ties to Italy such that "[a]rguably,
17 Cite as: 589 U. S. ____ (2020) Opinion of the Court [she] was a habitual resident of Italy." App. to Pet. for Cert. 91a. And, despite the rocky state of the marriage, the Dis-trict Court found beyond question that A. M. T. was borninto "a marital home in Italy," one that her parents estab-lished "with no definitive plan to return to the United States." Id., at 97a. Nothing in the record suggests that the District Court would appraise the facts differently on remand. A remand would consume time when swift resolution is the Convention's objective. The instant return-order pro-ceedings began a few months after A. M. T.'s birth. She is now five years old. The more than four-and-a-half-year du-ration of this litigation dwarfs the six-week target time forresolving a return-order petition. See Art. 11, Treaty Doc., at 9. Taglieri represents that custody of A. M. T. has so far been resolved only "on an interim basis," Brief for Respond-ent 56, n. 13, and that custody proceedings, including thematter of Monasky's parental rights, remain pending in It-aly. Tr. of Oral Arg. 60–61. Given the exhaustive record before the District Court, the absence of any reason to an-ticipate that the District Court's judgment would change on a remand that neither party seeks, and the protraction of proceedings thus far, final judgment on A. M. T.'s return isin order. * * * For the reasons stated, the judgment of the Court of Ap-peals for the Sixth Circuit is Affirmed.
_________________ _________________ 1 Cite as: 589 U. S. ____ (2020) Opinion of THOMAS, J. SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES No. 18–935 MICHELLE MONASKY, PETITIONER v. DOMENICO TAGLIERI ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT [February 25, 2020] JUSTICE THOMAS, concurring in part and concurring inthe judgment. The Court correctly concludes that an actual agreement between parents is not necessary to establish the habitual residence of an infant who is too young to acclimatize.* I also agree with the Court's conclusion that the habitual-residence inquiry is intensely fact driven, requiring courts to take account of the unique circumstances of each case. I write separately, however, because I would decide this case principally on the plain meaning of the treaty's text. I This case requires us to interpret the Hague Conventionon the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, Oct.25, 1980, T. I. A. S. No. 11670, S. Treaty Doc. No. 99–11, as implemented by the International Child Abduction Reme-dies Act (ICARA), as amended, 22 U. S. C. §9001 et seq. Ar-ticle 3 of the Convention provides that the "removal or theretention of a child is to be considered wrongful" when "it is —————— * The Court states that we "granted certiorari to clarify the standard for habitual residence," ante, at 6, and the opinion contains language that may be read to apply to older children, see, e.g., ante, at 8–9. But the relevant question presented focuses exclusively on the habitual residence of "an infant [who] is too young to acclimate to her surroundings." Pet. for Cert. i. I would confine our analysis to that distinct question, whichis the only one briefed by the parties.
2 MONASKY v. TAGLIERI Opinion of THOMAS, J. in breach of rights of custody attributed to a person . . . un-der the law of the State in which the child was habitually resident immediately before the removal or retention" and "at the time of removal or retention those rights were actu-ally exercised." S. Treaty Doc. No. 99–11, at 7. Under ICARA, a parent may petition a federal or state court to re-turn an abducted child to the child's country of habitual res-idence. §9003(b). ICARA does not define habitual resi-dence; it merely states that the petitioning parent must"establish by a preponderance of the evidence . . . that the child has been wrongfully removed or retained within the meaning of the Convention." §9003(e)(1)(A). The Conven-tion also does not define the phrase." 'The interpretation of a treaty, like the interpretation ofa statute, begins with its text.'" Abbott v. Abbott, 560 U. S. 1, 10 (2010) (quoting Medellín v. Texas, 552 U. S. 491, 506 (2008)). The Court recognizes this fact, but it concludes that the text only "suggests" that habitual residence is a fact-driven inquiry, and ultimately relies on atextual sources to "confir[m] what the Convention's text suggests." Ante, at 7. In my view, the ordinary meaning of the relevantlanguage at the time of the treaty's enactment providesstrong evidence that the habitual-residence inquiry is in-herently fact driven. See Schindler Elevator Corp. v. United States ex rel. Kirk, 563 U. S. 401, 407 (2011). In 1980, as today, "habitual" referred to something that was "[c]ustomary" or "usual." Black's Law Dictionary 640 (5th ed. 1979); see also 6 Oxford English Dictionary 996 (2d ed. 1989) ("existing as a settled practice or condition; con-stantly repeated or continued; customary"); Webster's Third New International Dictionary 1017 (1976) (similar). And "residence" referred to a "[p]ersonal presence at someplace of abode," Black's Law Dictionary, at 1176, "one'susual dwelling-place," 13 Oxford English Dictionary, at707, or "the act or fact of abiding or dwelling in a place for some time," Webster's Third New International Dictionary,
3 Cite as: 589 U. S. ____ (2020) Opinion of THOMAS, J. at 1931; see also ibid. ("a temporary or permanent dwelling place, abode, or habitation"). These definitions demonstrate that the concept of habit-ual residence for a child too young to acclimatize cannot bereduced to a neat set of necessary and sufficient conditions.Answering the question of what is customary or usual, for instance, requires judges to consider a host of facts, such as the presence or absence of bank accounts and driver's li-censes, the length and type of employment, and thestrength and duration of other community ties. Determin-ing whether there is a residence involves the consideration of factors such as the presence or absence of a permanenthome, the duration in the country at issue, and, in somecases, an actual agreement between the parents to reside ina particular place. Accordingly, the ordinary meaning ofthe phrase "habitual residence" provides strong support for the conclusion that an objective agreement between thechild's parents is not required. This plain meaning should serve as the primary guide for our interpretation. See Wa-ter Splash, Inc. v. Menon, 581 U. S. ___, ___ (2017) (slip op., at 4); Olympic Airways v. Husain, 540 U. S. 644, 649 (2004). II This case exemplifies the wisdom of firmly anchoring our discussion in the text before turning to the decisions of sis-ter signatories—especially when those decisions are not contemporaneous with the treaty's passage. Here, the Court finds it meaningful that foreign courts have inter-preted the phrase "habitual residence" as a fact-driven in-quiry. Ante, at 10–11. Though a "'clear trend'" has cer-tainly emerged in foreign courts, ante, at 10, this consensus appears to have developed only within the past decade.Lady Hale of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom noted as much in the 2013 decision cited by the Court. As she explained, for many years "the English courts [had]
4 MONASKY v. TAGLIERI Opinion of THOMAS, J. been tempted to overlay the factual concept of habitual res-idence with legal constructs," creating legal rules that dic-tated a child's habitual residence. A v. A,  A. C. ¶39 (2013) (U. K.); see also id., ¶37. According to one commen-tator writing in 2001, though "academics and judges" had stressed "that the term should not be treated as a term of art and should not be complicated by technical legal re-quirements similar to those applicable to the concept of domicile," "in some cases these statements seem[ed] to havebeen pure lip-service, since many courts [were] unable to resist the temptation to 'legalise' the concept." Schuz, Ha-bitual Residence of Children Under the Hague Child Ab-duction Convention—Theory and Practice, 13 Child & Fam-ily L. Q. 1, 4 (2001). Thus, until recently, "[t]he approach ofmany [foreign] courts [had] been to focus exclusively on the purpose of the parents in relocating," an inquiry that speaks to the legal concept of domicile. Schuz, Policy Con-siderations in Determining the Habitual Residence of aChild and the Relevance Of Context, 11 J. Transnat'l L. & Pol'y 101, 103 (2001) (footnote omitted).It seems, then, that it took approximately 30 years from the time of the Convention's enactment in 1980 for foreignjurisdictions to coalesce around an interpretation of habit-ual residence. This relatively recent evolution brings intobold relief the risk of relying too heavily on the decisions of foreign courts in lieu of a fulsome textual analysis. Because the decisions are not contemporaneous with the treaty'spassage, they do not necessarily provide the best evidenceof the original understanding of the phrase. And reflexivelylooking to foreign courts raises the question whether thisCourt would have resolved this case differently had the is-sue been presented in 1990, 2000, or even 2010, before the clear trend emerged. The Court attempts to sidestep this difficulty by pointing to a statement in ICARA's preamble that stresses "the needfor uniform international interpretation of the Convention."
5 Cite as: 589 U. S. ____ (2020) Opinion of THOMAS, J. 22 U. S. C. §9001(b)(3)(B); see ante, at 10. It should go with-out saying that if our independent assessment of habitualresidence led to a conclusion that diverged from the emerg-ing consensus, invocation of this prefatory language to forceagreement at the expense of plain meaning would be un-founded. By relying too heavily on the judicial decisions of the treaty's other signatories, rather than on a more thor-ough textual analysis, we risk being persuaded to reach the popular answer, but perhaps not the correct one. In short, "we should not substitute the judgment of other courts forour own." Abbott, 560 U. S., at 43 (Stevens, J., dissenting); see also Olympic Airways, 540 U. S., at 655, n. 9. To avoid these potential pitfalls, I would rely on the plain meaning of "habitual residence" to conclude that an actual agreement is not necessary. See supra, at 2–3. That con-clusion is bolstered by the Convention's explanatory report.Interpretations from the courts of sister signatories, thoughrecent, also support the conclusion because they align withthe meaning of the text and our own independent judgment.Because the Court places insufficient weight on the treaty'stext, I cannot join Part II of its opinion.
_________________ _________________ 1 Cite as: 589 U. S. ____ (2019) Opinion of ALITO, J. SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES No. 18–935 MICHELLE MONASKY, PETITIONER v. DOMENICO TAGLIERI ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT [February 25, 2020] JUSTICE ALITO, concurring in part and concurring in thejudgment. I agree with the Court on almost all the issues in this case. Specifically, I agree (1) that analysis of the question of "habitual residence" should be based on a range of factorsand should be attentive to the particular facts of each case, (2) that a child may have a habitual residence in a countrywithout a parental agreement to that effect, (3) that our in-terpretation of habitual residence should take into account the interpretations of other signatory nations, (4) that a dis-trict court's decision on habitual residence is entitled to def-erence on appeal, and (5) that the judgment below should be affirmed. I also agree with JUSTICE THOMAS that we must independently interpret the meaning of "habitualresidence." So what does it mean? The term "habitual" is used to refer to a cluster of related concepts. It can be used to refer to things done by habit, as well as things that are "con-stantly repeated or continued," "usual," or "accustomed." 6 Oxford English Dictionary 996 (2d ed. 1989); see also Web-ster's Third New International Dictionary 1017 (1976). If taken in isolation, each of these understandings might leadto a different analysis in applying the concept of "habitual residence" under the Convention. See Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, Oct.
2 MONASKY v. TAGLIERI Opinion of ALITO, J. 25, 1980, T. I. A. S. No. 11670, S. Treaty Doc. No. 99–11.But I think the Court accurately captures what the termmeans under the Convention when it says that a child's ha-bitual residence is the child's "home." Ante, at 8, 10, 15. Of course the concept of "home" is also multifaceted. It can be used to signify the place where a person generally sleeps, eats, works, and engages in social and recreational activities, but it can also mean the place where a person feels most comfortable and the place to which the personhas the strongest emotional ties. See 7 Oxford English Dic-tionary, at 322–323; Webster's Third New International Dictionary, at 1082. As best I can determine, the concept of "habitual residence" under the Convention embraces all of these meanings to some degree. If forced to try to synthe-size them, I would say it means the place where the child in fact has been living for an extended period—unless that place was never regarded as more than temporary or there is another place to which the child has a strong attachment.I think this is the core of what courts have made of the con-cept of "habitual residence," and it appears to represent thebest distillation of the various shades of meaning of the term taken in context. So interpreted, "habitual residence" is not a pure ques-tion of fact, at least as we understand that concept in our legal system. But it does involve a heavily factual inquiry.For these reasons, I would say that the standard of review on appeal is abuse of discretion, not clear error. As a prac-tical matter, the difference may be no more than minimal. The important point is that great deference should be af-forded to the District Court's determination.