CHICAGO (CBS) — Two years after a federal judge ordered her son sent back to Ireland to live with his father, an Orland Park woman is still fighting to get sole custody of the 7-year-old boy and bring him back to Illinois.
WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports an August court hearing has been scheduled in Mary Redmond’s ongoing legal fight in Cook County Circuit Court. Her legal bills have mounted to nearly $500,000.
In the meantime, Redmond, 36, said she talks to her son just about every day on Skype, calls usually monitored by his father, Derek Redmond.
“To me, he’s just the best little boy in the whole world; and lots of people will agree with me. He’s just such a great person. He has the best heart. He’s so loving and giving,” she said.
Mary is forbidden by court order from bringing up the “what ifs,” however, she said “a few weeks ago, he had a few minutes alone with me, and he actually asked me ‘Mommy, when am I coming back to America?’ And that just lifted my spirits so much, because he still wants to. You know, he still wants to come home, and that meant a lot to me.”
Complicating the case is Mary and Derek were never married – they share the same last name by coincidence.
Jack was born in March 2007 in Blue Island. Mary and Derek soon moved to Ireland, but split up when Jack was just 9 months old, and she brought him back to Illinois.
Derek filed for custody of Jack in Ireland, and an Irish court and the World Court in the Hague ruled Ireland had jurisdiction over Jack’s fate, and in February 2011, an Irish judge ordered he be returned there to live with his father, even though Jack is a U.S. Citizen and had spent most of his life in Illinois.
Mary – who had returned to Ireland for the court proceedings there – promised to abide by the Irish judge’s order to hare custody of Jack in Ireland – swapping custody of him with Derek every night – and got the court there to let her bring Jack back to Illinois briefly to settle her affairs here, after promising to bring him back to live in Ireland permanently. She also agreed not to take the custody battle to another court.
However, she broke the promise and filed for sole custody of Jack in Cook County. She claimed Derek became physically and mentally abusive to her while they were still together. She said she only agreed to the Irish judge’s order to share custody so she could leave Ireland with Jack.
Mary kept Jack in Illinois until a federal judge ruled in July 2012 that she must send him back to Ireland. She couldn’t go with him, because she was found contempt of court in Ireland, and faces potential jail time if she returns, so Mary’s mother went with Jack instead.
Derek’s attorney, David Schaffer, has said Mary brought her plight on herself by defying the Irish court’s ruling after presenting her case there.
In December, Mary won a federal appeals court ruling, striking down the federal judge’s order to send Jack back to Ireland. The same federal judge later ordered Jack returned to Illinois, but he has stayed in Ireland since then.
Mary said the two-year anniversary of when Jack returned to Ireland is an especially emotional day for her.
“I haven’t seen him in person since, so it’s extremely hard,” she said.
According to the Southtown Star, Derek’s attorney has said he is not in violation of the most recent order that Jack be brought back to Illinois. Schaffer told the Southtown Star Mary is free to travel to Ireland to get Jack.