KANSAS CITY, Mo. — An Army sergeant involved in an international custody battle for his 5-year-old daughter received good news Tuesday. The Supreme Court ruled 9-0 in favor of Jeff Chafin, granting him the legal right to appeal a federal judge’s decision that gave custody of his daughter to his estranged wife Lynne Chafin, who lives in Scotland.
Chafin promised his daughter Eris that he “would do everything I could to bring her back home and safe.” Chafin is an Overland Park, Kan., native and is currently an Army sergeant based at Ft. Stewart, Ga.
He says his daughter was born in Germany, but lived in Scotland with her mother while Chafin served 15 months in Afghanistan. After his tour of duty, the family moved to Alabama, which is where Eris lived most of her life, and where Chafin’s marriage ended.
Chafin said his estranged wife was arrested December 10, 2010 after she allegedly attacked a cab driver while drunk. On December 24, she was charged with domestic violence, again while she was allegedly drunk.
“I woke up with her standing over me with a knife,” Chafin said. “Personally, I don’t think someone with an alcohol issue like that can take care of a child.”
Lynne Chafin was deported in 2011 but was allowed to return long enough to convince a judge to grant her custody.
“If my daughter is returned to the United States, I believe I will never see her again,” she said.
Now Chafin, with approval from the Supreme Court, plans to appeal the federal judge’s decision in hopes of gaining custody of his daughter.