Krauser, C.J. Berger, J., Leahy, J.
appeal concerns a marriage gone wrong, allegations of abuse,
and an infant who was taken by one parent to live in another
state without the other parent's knowledge or consent.
The circumstance is one that the federal Parental Kidnapping
Prevention Act (the "Parental Kidnapping Statute"),
28 U.S.C. § 1738A (2012), and the Uniform Child Custody
Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act ("UCCJEA"),
codified at Maryland Code (1984, 2012 Repl. Vol.), Family Law
Article ("FL"), § 9.5-101 et seq.,
were enacted to prevent.
A.M.C. was born in June 2014 to
Appellant Sugheil Cabrera and Appellee Nelson Mercado-a
married couple living in Rockville, Maryland. Four months
later, Ms. Cabrera filed a petition for a protective order
against Mr. Mercado in the District Court of Maryland. The
district court issued a temporary protective order
("TPO") granting temporary custody of A.M.C. to Ms.
Cabrera, with visitation to Mr. Mercado. At Ms. Cabrera's
prompting, the parties asked the court to postpone the
scheduled merits hearing, and meanwhile, Mr. Mercado's
visits with his son continued every other day without any
Mr. Mercado and his attorney appeared at the merits hearing,
they learned that Ms. Cabrera had sent her attorney to
dismiss the case without explanation. Soon after, they
discovered Ms. Cabrera had fled to Puerto Rico-with A.M.C.
very day her attorney dismissed the case in Maryland, Ms.
Cabrera filed a complaint for custody in the superior court
in Puerto Rico. In response, Mr. Mercado quickly filed a
complaint for custody and divorce in the Circuit Court for
Montgomery County. These filings unleashed a jurisdictional
battle over the custody of A.M.C. between the parents, and
between the states in which they now reside.
several custody and affiliated orders have been entered in
both Puerto Rico and in Montgomery County, Maryland, this
appeal brought by Ms. Cabrera springs mainly from the final
custody order entered in favor of Mr. Mercado in the Circuit
Court for Montgomery County. Central to the issues Ms. Cabrera
raises on appeal is the question of jurisdiction over A.M.C.
under the UCCJEA and the Parental Kidnapping Statute.
that Maryland is the child's "home state" under
both statutes, and that Maryland already made the initial
custody determination by the time Ms. Cabrera filed her
complaint in Puerto Rico. Accordingly, the circuit court did
not err or abuse its discretion in entering an emergency
temporary custody order or a final custody order in Mr.
Dismissal of Petition for Protective Order
Cabrera and Mr. Mercado were married on December 12, 2013 in
Rockville, Maryland. The couple resided in Clarksburg,
Maryland, and both were employed at the National Institutes
of Health ("NIH") in Rockville,
Maryland. Their only child, A.M.C., was born on June
October 25, 2014, Ms. Cabrera petitioned the District Court
of Maryland in Montgomery County for a protective order-for
herself and A.M.C.-against Mr. Mercado. In the petition, Ms.
Cabrera claimed that she "feared for [her] safety"
and that Mr. Mercado was "threatening, harassing and
intimidating [her] for some time now[, ] and it has become a
pattern . . . ." She further alleged that Mr. Mercado
had displayed a pattern of obsessive activity, that she felt
"stalked and harassed, " and that he had been
tracking her activities. Specifically, Ms. Cabrera described
two incidents that she claimed occurred on October 24 and 25,
This morning while I as leaving the house my husband blocked
my entrance[.] Also while I was putting the baby in the
carseat[, ] he pushed the car door attempting to hurt me when
I asked him for some space while securing the baby in the
* * *
Last night (10/24) I arrived home at 8:30 pm and he snatched
the baby away from me the minute I walked in the house. He
was questioning me where was I saying "God knows what
you've been doing and who you've been with[.]"
He made a threat that "I would know what he had for me
in due time[.]" I replied saying that I wasn't going
to get intimidated by him. . . .
Cabrera complained that she was being subjected to Mr.
Mercado's general pattern of controlling behavior,
including that he listened to her phone calls, that his body
language was intimidating, and that he had
"snatche[d]" A.M.C. from her arms. She also
included complaints that more reflected anger or frustration
rather than fear, such as her allegations that Mr. Mercado
"[d]oesn't take his fa[ir] share of
responsibilities" and "refuses to help with
childcare and/or housework" and that she
"constantly needs to remind [Mr. Mercado] to put the
money in the household account." The only allegations
she presented in the petition that were in any way directed
toward A.M.C.-rather than toward herself-were that Mr.
Mercado "likes to snatch the baby from [her] when
[she's] holding him[, ]" and that he raises his
voice at A.M.C. when the baby gets fussy.
district court issued an ex parte interim protective order
for the benefit of Ms. Cabrera and A.M.C. against Mr. Mercado
on October 26, 2014. The order, by its terms effective only
through October 28, stated that there were "reasonable
grounds to believe" Mr. Mercado had committed the
offenses of assault and stalking, and ordered that Mr.
Mercado not abuse, threaten, harass, contact, or attempt to
contact Ms. Cabrera. The order further directed Mr. Mercado
vacate and stay away from the couple's Clarksburg
residence, and granted Ms. Cabrera temporary use and
possession of the home. Mr. Mercado abided by the protective
order and immediately left the house upon receiving a copy.
ensuing protective order hearing on October 28, 2014, Mr.
Mercado and his counsel appeared along with Ms. Cabrera. The
district court issued a TPO at the conclusion of the hearing.
Similar to the interim protective order, the TPO recited the
district court's finding that there were reasonable
grounds to believe Mr. Mercado had assaulted Ms. Cabrera on
October 25, 2014. The TPO ordered that Mr. Mercado not abuse,
threaten to abuse, harass, or contact Ms. Cabrera, and
further ordered that he stay away from Ms. Cabrera's
residence and place of employment. Notably, the TPO awarded
custody of A.M.C. to Ms. Cabrera until the final
protective order hearing, which was scheduled for November 5,
2014, and allowed for a three-hour supervised visitation
session on November 1, 2014.
Cabrera, Mr. Mercado, and their respective attorneys appeared
for the scheduled proceeding on November 5, 2014, and
requested the district court extend the term of the TPO to
November 17, 2014. According to Mr. Mercado, he agreed to
this postponement so that the parties could negotiate
visitation with A.M.C. on their own. The amended TPO provided
for six visitation sessions between November 5 and November
morning of November 17, 2014, Mr. Mercado and his counsel
appeared in court. Ms. Cabrera did not appear. Instead, Ms.
Cabrera's counsel appeared and requested dismissal of the
petition for protective order without explanation. The
district court dismissed the case.
Flight to Puerto Rico
Cabrera fled to Puerto Rico with A.M.C., without Mr.
Mercado's knowledge or consent, on November 15, 2014-just
two days prior to the scheduled hearing that was extended at
her request. The same day that Ms. Cabrera's
petition for protective order was dismissed, on November 17,
2014, Ms. Cabrera filed a complaint for custody of A.M.C. in
the Superior Court of Puerto Rico for the Judicial Region of
Bayamon. The complaint alleged that Mr. Mercado
"exhibit[ed] a pattern of domestic violence" that
made cohabitation impossible. The complaint further alleged:
9. That [Mr. Mercado] is a citizen of Bolivia and although
he holds U.S. citizenship, he has expressed his desire to
move the minor out of the jurisdiction, without the consent
of [Ms. Cabrera].
10. That [Ms. Cabrera] fears that [Mr. Mercado] will remove
[A.M.C.] from our jurisdiction without her consent, impeding
in this manner the efforts on the part of [Ms. Cabrera] to
exercise physical and legal custody, and prolonging any legal
proceedings related to the custody of the minor.
complaint also asserted that Mr. Mercado "does not show
domestic behavior appropriate for his son's upbringing,
risking in this manner the physical and emotional health of
the minor." And, that he "faces serious behavioral
problems, behaving in a violent manner physically and
psychologically preventing him from offering the ideal
conditions for the minor." The complaint requested,
inter alia, (1) a temporary custody order in favor
of Ms. Cabrera until a final order was issued; (2) a
temporary order forbidding the removal of A.M.C. from Puerto
Rico; and (3) a final custody order in favor of Ms. Cabrera.
Ms. Cabrera made no mention in the complaint she filed in
Puerto Rico of the fact that she had previously filed a
protective order petition in Maryland that had granted her
temporary custody of A.M.C.
Mercado was personally served, in Maryland, with the Puerto
Rican summons (although there is some ambiguity in the record
concerning the specific documents that were served on him),
but he filed no responsive pleading. He does not contest that
he was served.
Mr. Mercado's Emergency Motion for Custody and Return of
November 21, 2014, Mr. Mercado initiated the underlying
action on appeal by filing an Emergency Motion to Return
Child to Maryland and Emergency Motion for Temporary Custody
("Emergency Motion"), along with a complaint for
divorce, custody, and child support in the Circuit Court for
Montgomery County. In his complaint, Mr. Mercado
"contest[ed] the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth of
Puerto Rico[, ]" stating that he "has never been a
resident nor domiciled in nor had contacts with such
jurisdiction [and that] Puerto Rico is [Ms. Cabrera]'s
Territory of birth to which she has absconded with
[A.M.C]." The complaint requested that Mr. Mercado be
granted, inter alia, (1) a limited divorce; (2)
pendente lite and permanent custody of A.M.C.; and
(3) various relief relating to marital property and the
Emergency Motion, Mr. Mercado "adamantly challenge[d Ms.
Cabrera]'s claim of abuse" and stated that Mr.
Mercado "has been a kind, caring spouse and good
father." He asserted that Maryland was A.M.C.'s home
state pursuant to the Maryland UCCJEA and that Maryland
"has exclusive, continuing jurisdiction over custody of
[A.M.C]." As such, he asserted in the Emergency Motion
that Maryland was "the proper forum for a merits
determination of custody and access, " and requested
that he be granted temporary legal and physical custody of
A.M.C. and that A.M.C. be returned to Maryland.
Mercado stated in the Emergency Motion that he had notified
Ms. Cabrera by email and regular mail of the scheduled
proceeding on the motion to be held on November 24, 2014.
Just prior to the hearing on November 24, 2014, Mr. Mercado
supplemented the Emergency Motion with a certification and
several attachments demonstrating that his counsel had sent
Ms. Cabrera's counsel in Maryland and her counsel in
Puerto Rico notice of the hearing along with the writ of
summons, a copy of the custody and divorce complaint, and a
copy of the Emergency Motion.
circuit court held a hearing on the Emergency Motion on
November 24, 2014. Mr. Mercado appeared with counsel, and
neither Ms. Cabrera nor counsel appeared. Mr. Mercado
testified that he had abided by the terms of the protective
order and that no problems had occurred during any of the
scheduled visitation sessions. He further testified that Ms.
Cabrera had said that she was going to Richmond, Virginia,
the weekend she actually left for Puerto Rico. He also
testified that he received "paperwork" on November
18, 2014, stating that Ms. Cabrera had initiated a custody
action in a Puerto Rico court. Mr. Mercado denied Ms.
Cabrera's allegations of domestic violence. He stated
that the first time he learned that his wife was in Puerto
Rico was when a friend of Ms. Cabrera's called him to
tell him that she had not heard from Ms. Cabrera since she
traveled to Puerto Rico.
hearing Mr. Mercado's testimony, the court stated that
the allegations of domestic violence complicated what would
otherwise be a relatively straightforward problem-Ms.
Cabrera's disappearance with the child. But, the court
also noted (from Ms. Cabrera's petition for protective
order) that there did not appear to be any concerns about
A.M.C.'s safety with Mr. Mercado or "anything in
the pleadings that would rise to the level of there being
an allegation of some unsafety with the child." Counsel
for Mr. Mercado requested a temporary custodial order.
circuit court judge then announced her ruling:
I'm prepared to find on the basis of what I have here,
which is, admittedly, one side of the story for the most part
-- although I do have some of what Ms. Cabrera told the
court, at least about the circumstances of the filing that
she made with the protective order, and I just said, there
doesn't seem to be any allegation of concern about the
way the baby was being treated by Mr. Mercado -- Ms. Cabrera
obviously felt like she was being disrespected.
Her pleadings alleged stalking and, that may be what she
sensed was happening. But at least as far as the child is
concerned, I don't see any allegation of bad behavior.
. . . It does seem to me that a temporary emergency custody
order is in order. Whatever else is true. The way to solve
these problems is not to run to another jurisdiction.
Fortunately, Puerto Rico is a place that we have some ability
So what I'm going to do is grant that request for
temporary emergency custody of the child, but also say that
Ms. Cabrera is entitled to a hearing on 48 hours' notice
with regards to that order.
I'll also direct law enforcement to use all reasonable
force, if necessary, to return the child to his father for
this temporary emergency custody purposes only.
. . . [O]bviously, if Ms. Cabrera learns of this order and
voluntarily returns with A[M.C.], it's probably the best
of all circumstances, and then perhaps we can deal with this
in some organized, practical fashion.
And it's not really a question, I don't think, of
home state jurisdiction, but I think the law is clear that
even though [A.M.C.] is not yet 6 months, you know, the place
where he's residing is his home state. So I'm happy
to sign such an order.
November 25, 2014, the court, "satisfied that [Mr.
Mercado] made good faith attempts to provide notice of this
appearance to [Ms. Cabrera]" entered an emergency
temporary custody order directing: (1) that Ms. Cabrera
immediately surrender A.M.C. to the temporary physical and
legal custody of Mr. Mercado until further order of the
court; (2) that A.M.C. not be removed from Maryland; and (3)
that Ms. Cabrera is entitled to a hearing on 48 hours'
notice to Mr. Mercado.
December 27, 2014, a process server served Fernando A.
Cabrera Balasquides- Ms. Cabrera's father-with the
Maryland emergency temporary custody order; the writ of
summons; the complaint for divorce, custody, and child
support; and other documents. According to the affidavit of
service, the process server served Mr. Cabrera at Ms.
Cabrera's "dwelling house or usual place of abode,
at Club Drive J-4 Garden Hills, Guaynabo, PR 00966 with a
resident of suitable age and
discretion[.]" The affidavit of service describes the
Deliver to the father of the recipient, when the [process
server] arrives to the home also the mother of Sugheil
Cabrera have the kid in her arms and a[s] soon see the
Process Server she yell[s] to his husband close the garage
door and put the baby down on the floor to avoid that the
[process server] see the baby, but [process server] see the
baby and proceed the serve the papers to the father who tell
to the [process server] that he was not the father of
Sugheil, the [process server] indicated that he knows
i[t']s him because have seen him in photos and also see
the mother in photos. He ask to[ t]he [process server] how he
enter.. the [process server] explain[s] that they can[']t
hide behind the gate community control access.
Further Proceedings in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico court held a hearing on January 15, 2015, on the
default order that had been entered against Mr. Mercado.
According to "Minutes" produced describing the
hearing, Ms. Cabrera and her counsel appeared, and Mr.
Mercado did not appear. Ms. Cabrera's counsel moved for
temporary custody of A.M.C. and an order that A.M.C. not be
removed from Puerto Rico, which the court granted. Ms.
Cabrera also moved for a default judgment against Mr.
Mercado. The final hearing was scheduled for March 25, 2015,
and the Puerto Rico judgment that was eventually entered
stated that Mr. Mercado was notified of the hearing at his
"address of record."
Motion to Decline Jurisdiction in Maryland
March 18, 2015, Ms. Cabrera's counsel entered an
appearance in the circuit court on behalf of Ms.
Cabrera. Ms. Cabrera's counsel also moved to
vacate the emergency custody order; this motion was denied.
days later, on March 20, Ms. Cabrera's counsel filed a
motion requesting the Maryland court to decline subject
matter jurisdiction under the UCCJEA and vacate the emergency
custody order. In the motion, Ms. Cabrera implicitly
conceded-by not attempting to argue the point-that Maryland
was A.M.C.'s home state, but nonetheless argued that
Maryland should decline jurisdiction under the UCCJEA because
(1) Maryland was an inconvenient forum and (2) Puerto Rico
was a more appropriate forum to determine custody and
visitation. She contended that Puerto Rico was a more
appropriate forum because (1) domestic violence had occurred
in Maryland and Puerto Rico could best protect Ms. Cabrera
and A.M.C.; (2) A.M.C. had lived in Puerto Rico for the last
four months; (3) Ms. Cabrera is the custodial parent, and the
noncustodial parent is in a better position to litigate in a
foreign jurisdiction; (4) it would be an financial hardship
for Ms. Cabrera to litigate in Maryland; (5) no agreement
existed between the parties to litigate in Maryland; (6) the
evidence required to resolve the custody dispute is located
in Puerto Rico; (7) Puerto Rico can decide custody and
visitation more expeditiously and economically; and (8)
Puerto Rico is more familiar with the facts and issues of the
Cabrera further observed in her motion that a Puerto Rico
court had already asserted subject matter jurisdiction over
the matter, insisting that
[a]ny order entered in this Court will merely be in conflict
with the orders previously issued by the Puerto Rico Court.
Puerto Rico has already assumed jurisdiction over matters
related to custody and visitation, it has already issued a
temporary order directing that custody be awarded to [Ms.
Cabrera] and that the minor child may not be removed from the
jurisdiction of the Puerto Rico court, and it is scheduled to
address these matters in a final adjudication on March 25,
2015. Any order issued by a Maryland Court will be of no
Ms. Cabrera argued that the November 25, 2014 emergency
custody order should be vacated because (1) she disputed
service and (2) the circuit court was not empowered to enter
the order when proceedings had already begun in another
jurisdiction, as they had in this case in Puerto Rico. A
hearing was set for this motion on May 15, 2015.
The Puerto Rican Final Custody Order
March 25, 2015 hearing in the superior court in Puerto Rico,
Ms. Cabrera appeared once again with her counsel, and Mr.
Mercado did not appear. The court received the following
documentary evidence: (1) A.M.C.'s birth certificate; (2)
the TPO from the Maryland district court;  and (3) the
divorce, custody, and child support complaint filed by Mr.
Cabrera in the circuit court. Ms. Cabrera also testified, and
apparently the court found her credible.
Puerto Rico court entered judgment and issued a memorandum
opinion in which the court stated that Mr.
incurred in [sic] domestic violence actions against [Ms.
Cabrera], during her pregnancy as well as after the birth of
the minor. Said actions consisted in pushes, hair-pulling,
verbal abuse and strikes with the door of her motor vehicle,
which caused physical and emotional damages to [Ms. Cabrera].
Likewise,  Mr. Mercado incurred in physical and emotional
abuse against his son, consisting in shouts, locking him in a
dark room and threatening to take him down to the basement of
the residence, all the above in order for [A.M.C.] to stop
court described the proceedings that had occurred in Maryland
courts up to that point, as well as Ms. Cabrera's flight
from Maryland to Puerto Rico on November 15, 2014, and then
found that Ms. Cabrera's relatives in Puerto Rico were
helping support her and A.M.C. The court noted that it was
not Ms. Cabrera's intention "to go back to continue
living in [Maryland, ]" and found that Ms. Cabrera had
maintained her employment in Maryland through
court concluded that it "ha[d] jurisdiction over [Mr.
Mercado] inasmuch as the summons was served with the
complaint personally to him on November 18, 2014[, ]"
and that Ms. Cabrera's allegations "[we]re accepted
as proven" because Mr. Mercado had not filed any
responsive pleading. The court recognized that the Parental
Kidnapping Statute governed the court's decision, and
recited the parameters under the statute for determining
jurisdiction. Notably, the court's opinion stated that
the Parental Kidnapping Statute provides:
(c) A determination on custody or on visiting rights made by
a court from a state is consistent with the requirements of
this section only if:
(1)Said court has jurisdiction under the laws of its state;
(2)It complies with one of the following conditions:
(A) That state:
i. is the state of residence of the minor as of the date the
procedures started, or
ii. has been the state of residence of the minor six (6)
months before the date when the procedures started . . .
(Emphasis supplied). Relying on this interpretation of the
Parental Kidnapping Statute, the court then concluded that
Puerto Rico had jurisdiction over the custody case:
. . . there not being any custody decision from another state
in effect at this time, having established the present ground
before to the one submitted in the state of Maryland by [Mr.
Mercado], and this Court having jurisdiction over [Mr.
Mercado] since it was summoned pursuant to the laws of Puerto
Rico, and having evidence of having [Ms. Cabrera] been the
object of domestic violence, as well as of abuse toward the
minor, both by [Mr. Mercado], and there being no doubt that
this Court not only has jurisdiction to attend this case, but
that its determination shall receive the full faith and
credit of other jurisdiction, pursuant to the [Parental
the certified translation of the opinion is far from clear,
the Puerto Rico court seemed to believe that it had not just
temporary emergency jurisdiction-but jurisdiction to decide
the entire child custody proceeding under the Parental
Kidnapping Statute based on its findings that (1) Puerto Rico
was the child's current residence,  (2) there was
no prior custody decision from another state in effect at
that time, (3) Ms. Cabrera alleged domestic violence, and (4)
Mr. Mercado had been served in Maryland. The court proceeded
to grant legal custody of A.M.C. to Ms. Cabrera and stated
that "[t]he transfer of [A.M.C.] . . . out of the Puerto
Rican jurisdiction, without the prior authorization of this
Court, is hereby forbidden." The court apparently did
not consider whether the TPO constituted a custody
determination,  nor did it consider the definition of
"home state" under the Parental Kidnapping Statute,
relying instead on its finding that Puerto Rico was the
child's current residence.
The Battle Over Jurisdiction Continues in Maryland
5, 2015, Ms. Cabrera filed a request for registration of the
Puerto Rico order in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County.
The clerk of the court entered a notice of registration of
the foreign custody determination on May 7, 2015, stating
that it is enforceable as of the date of registration. On May
20, 2015, Mr. Mercado timely filed a motion contesting the
registration of the foreign judgment.
8, 2015, Ms. Cabrera also filed a motion to appear by
telephone in the scheduled pendente lite hearing.
Ms. Cabrera's motion stated:
6. Defendant, Sugheil Cabrera, wishes to make herself
available and participate in this case. . . .
7.Defendant will make herself available from Puerto Rico to
this Court on May 15, 2015 in the event the Court has any
questions. Defendant will testify at the pendente
lite hearing from Puerto Rico on June 1, 2015 and will
give her testimony regarding her income and expenses, and
access for purposes of the Court deciding pendente
lite child support and access.
* * *
9.Transmission of [Ms. Cabrera]'s testimony will be by
10. Requiring the personal appearance of Defendant would
cause undue hardship by having her have to fly back from
Puerto Rico, and leave behind the minor child, who is still
being breast-fed by [Ms. Cabrera], in order to testify.
Cabrera then requested that she be allowed to appear by
telephone in both the hearing on her motion to decline
jurisdiction set for May 15, 2015, and the pendente
lite hearing set for June 1, 2015.
Mercado filed an opposition to the motion to appear by
telephone on May 13, 2015. In the motion, he argued that Ms.
Cabrera continues to defy the November 25, 2014 circuit court
custody order and that Ms. Cabrera has not shown good cause
for absence from the proceedings. He further argued that Ms.
Cabrera must appear in person so that he has the opportunity
to conduct face-to-face cross examination of her because the
court's "assessment of [Ms. Cabrera]'s demeanor
and credibility are critical to  the determination of the
best interests of the child in these proceedings." Mr.
Mercado further observed that Ms. Cabrera's motion was
untimely because it was not filed 30 days before the hearing,
as Maryland Rule 2-513(c) requires.
May 15, 2015 hearing on the motion to decline jurisdiction,
Ms. Cabrera's counsel argued that (1) Ms. Cabrera had not
been properly served; (2) Mr. Mercado has chosen not to
participate in the Puerto Rico proceedings; (3) there is a
final judgment in Puerto Rico giving custody to Ms. Cabrera
that should control; and (4) under the Parental Kidnapping
Statute, Puerto Rico had jurisdiction. The court engaged Ms.
Cabrera's counsel in the following exchange regarding the
jurisdiction over the case:
THE COURT: . . . I think  the problem here is that
there's a disconnect between what happened in Puerto Rico
and what you're asking me to do.
[MS. CABRERA'S COUNSEL]: Why is that, Your Honor?
THE COURT: Well, I think the reason for that is because
Puerto Rico has proceeded without much regard to whether I
declined or [did] not decline jurisdiction. But if this
Court comes to the conclusion that we do still have
jurisdiction, then I'd be interested to know what happens
next, since it didn't seem to matter the first time.
[MS. CABRERA'S COUNSEL]: Well, that is actually the
problem, Your Honor, and quite frankly the point is that if
this Court --
THE COURT: That I should just wave the white flag because
they proceeded regardless?
[MS. CABRERA'S COUNSEL]: No, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Okay.
[MS. CABRERA'S COUNSEL]: And I understand, yes, that you
can say that, but in essence what this Court does is not
going to impact what Puerto Rico does.
Now you know, under the UCCJEA there's a provision for
the courts to speak to each other.
THE COURT: Right.
[MS. CABRERA'S COUNSEL]: And that may be an appropriate
thing to do here.
THE COURT: I think it might.
[MS. CABRERA'S COUNSEL]: And we certainly, I mean --
THE COURT: Yes.
[MS. CABRERA'S COUNSEL]: -- there'd be no reason not
to have that attempt.
It is our position, based on the way the court evaluated it,
that the court at this point in time in Puerto Rico has
decided that it doesn't care what Maryland does. And so
if Maryland were to continue with this dispute, I think
that's what you're outlining here, and it will be of
no real effect, and we point that out in our proceedings.
(Emphasis added). Ms. Cabrera's counsel further argued
that a UCCJEA state cannot assert jurisdiction if another
state has already asserted jurisdiction. The colloquy on
THE COURT: So this is an ex parte proceeding in a
circumstance that we would say didn't provide fair notice
or didn't comply with what we would say the rules are.
[MS. CABRERA'S COUNSEL]: I don't know why we would
say that, because he was served in person, an order of
default was entered in that case --
THE COURT: Yes, right. That's fine, except for that
that's not actually how we would say this would proceed.
So how we would say this would, first of all what
jurisdiction does the Puerto Rico court have over this
gentleman? None that I can think of. So he had actual notice,
that's swell, but I don't know what difference that
makes as far as jurisdiction [i]s concerned.
Meanwhile, there is a basis for jurisdiction here, and the
thing that troubles me about this whole analysis that
you're giving me is that it's exactly what these acts
were designed to avoid, which is this kind of, and it happens
unfortunately all over the world, one would have hoped not in
Puerto Rico, but so be it. That people, countries, proceed
with their own set of rules about whether a child should be
returned to the place from which they were removed without
consent of both parties, which is what I think happened here.
I think your client left the, she may well have had her
reasons, but part of the reason that we do this with two
sides available is so that we get both sides of the story.
Mercado defended Maryland's jurisdiction over the custody
matter, insisting that Maryland was A.M.C.'s home state
and the protective order petition-not the Puerto Rico ...