Linda Shay Gardner Esq.

Linda Shay Gardner Esq.

Lead Attorney
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Specialized Experience:

Since 1995, attorney Gardner has worked or advised on approximately 300 Hague Convention or other family abduction cases. She routinely works to return children under the Hague Convention on Child Abduction and related family law issues (including divorce and support), and consults in cases in which there is no bilateral treaty. She has represented and consulted with attorneys, private organizations, foreign governmental agencies and parents in cases involving: Aruba, Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, England, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Holland, Honduras, Hong Kong,  Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Mauritius, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria. Northern Ireland, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Scotland, U.A.E. and Venezuela.

She also represents clients involved in interstate custody litigation and has appeared in jurisdictions in various other state courts and in federal courts to represent clients in these matters. This litigation usually centers on the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act.

On many occasions, attorney Gardner has provided her services without charge or at a substantially reduced fee to parents whose children have been lost through international parental abduction, and attorney Gardner provides her services gratis through North Penn Legal Services to clients who meet their (legal aid) financial qualifications.

Attorney Gardner maintains a small practice in Bethlehem, with a focus on family law matters. She has been responsible for the return of many children to their parents after the wrongful abduction by the other parent. Working with families to be reunited with their children around the globe has brought an international dimension to the legal profession in Bethlehem.

Governmental/Private Activities:

  1. Private Law Delegate representing the United States at the Third Meeting of the Special Commission to Discuss the Operation of the Hague Convention on Child Abduction, at The Hague, March 17-21, 1997
  2. Routinely consulted by the Office of Children's Issues, Consular Affairs, U.S. Department of State regarding abduction cases
  3. Works closely with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, representing parents whose children are abducted into the United States from other countries
  4. Resource for REUNITE, the United Kingdom's private organization specializing in parental child abduction
  5. Member, Attorney Advisory Committee, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children – attorney advisory committee on issues of abducted children
  6. Board Member, Committee for Missing Children, an international organization providing support for parents of abducted children, with offices in Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA and Langenselbold, Germany
  7. Member, ICAAN, International Child Abduction Attorney Network, serving as pro bono (free) attorney for parents of abducted children, as part of project underwritten by the ABA Center on Children and the Law and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
  8. Advisory Panel, Rachel Foundation, Texas for Reunification of children with families after estrangement or abduction
  9. Media Contact: Cited in articles in England, Northern Ireland, Germany and throughout the United States on abduction issues, including AP articles, feature stories and other references to abduction issues
  10. Media contacts: Television appearances (including Nancy Grace Show on CNN in Spring 2007), Radio interviews regarding abduction issues, and newspaper interviews in U.S. and abroad
  11. Consulted by other attorneys throughout the United States who have questions regarding abduction issues, offering ongoing assistance to practitioners handling these matters; receives calls on a weekly basis
  12. Cases normally involve coordinating efforts of local/state police, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Interpol, and other law enforcement agencies to facilitate return of abducted children and capture of parents who have kidnapped the children
  13. Prepared and submitted affidavits of law and opinion letters to other attorneys and to various courts on specific cases involving the risks of child abduction, both in the United States and abroad


Testimony, House Democratic Policy Committee, Public Health and Violence Prevention Task Force Hearing, September 11, 2007

Testimony/Remarks to Subcommittee on Family Law of the Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee, in support of House Bill 2398, August 28, 2006

Participant – "ICARA at 15" – Symposium with the United States Department of State, Washington, D.C., participant with other attorneys, judges, and governmental authorities to discuss possible changes and improvements to the International Child Abduction Remedies Act, codified at 42 U.S.C. § 11601 et seq., December 2003

Expert Witness: cases in Pennsylvania, Florida, Colorado, Maryland and New York on issues of child custody, jurisdiction and child abduction

Expert Testimony on International Family Law Cases and Abduction, and the Hague Convention on the International Aspects of Child Abduction – Schuh v. Wrestler, No. 2007-5219, Court of Common Pleas of Centre County, PA – July 29, 2008

Expert Testimony on International Child Abduction – Diaz v. Solis-Diaz, District Court, City and County of Denver, Colorado, 08-DR-1201; Conference Call with Counsel and Guardian July 11, 2008, and Expert Testimony proposed for August 11, 2008.

Expert Testimony in Santos v. Santos, C-0048-CV-2003-07570, Northampton County, PA in 2006 on abduction prevention measures between US and Philippines

Expert Testimony in Bochkarev v. Bochkarev, Montgomery County, PA divorce/custody case involving abduction prevention measures between US and Russia, April 8, 2010

Expert Testimony in the Matter of Lynne M. Airi and Shashi B. Airi, Cheshire County Superior Court, Docket No. 08-M-0407, State of New Hampshire, August 18, 2010

Consulted: local case in Lehigh and Northampton counties

Areas of Practice

  • Adoption
  • Child Support
  • Divorce
  • Family Law
  • International Law
  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Juvenile Crimes
  • Misdemeanor
  • Parole & Probation
  • Traffic Violations
  • Alimony & Spousal Support
  • Childrens' Rights
  • Collaborative Law
  • Custody & Visitation
  • Domestic Violence & Neglect
  • Juvenile Law
  • Paternity
  • Prenuptial Agreements
  • Guardianships & Conservatorships
  • Living Wills
  • Powers of Attorney and Appointment

Litigation Percentage

  • 95% of Practice Devoted to Litigation

Bar Admissions

  • Pennsylvania, 1996
  • New Jersey, 1995
  • U.S. District Court District of New Jersey, 1995
  • U.S. District Court District of South Carolina, 2010
  • U.S. District Court District of Nevada, 2010
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 1997
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Pennsylvania, 2001
  • U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida, 2010
  • U.S. District Court Middle District of Pennsylvania, 2010
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of Florida, 2010
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of Georgia, 2010
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Arkansas, 2010
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Texas, 2010
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Louisiana, 2010
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 3rd Circuit, 2000
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit, 2001
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit, 1998
  • Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, 1996
  • Supreme Court of New Jersey, 1995


  • Temple University School of Law, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    • J.D.
  • Teachers College, Columbia University
    • Doctorate in Continuing and Higher Education - 1984
  • Teachers College, Columbia University
    • M.A. - 1984
  • Lehigh University
    • Master in Education - 1975
  • Moravian College
    • B.A. - 1974
    • Honors: Admitted to Hall of Fame for Field Hockey in 2007
    • Major: Sociology and Psychology


  • Presenter: "Virtual Visitation”, Provide Personal Video Conferencing between Parents and Children, Northampton County Bench Bar Conference, October 28, 2006
  • Presenter: "Safeguarding Children from Parental Abduction: Preventative Strategies in Custody Cases", International Family Law Society Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2005
  • Presenter, "Counseling Business Clients Regarding International Family Law Issues", Spring Meeting of the ABA Section of International Law, New York, April 4, 2008
  • Presenter - Coordination of abduction and recovery resources between the United States and the Dominican Republic - lecture to attorneys in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 2001
  • Presenter - "What Every Judge Should Know about Child Abduction", National Association of Women Judges Conference, National Conference, Manhattan, New York, 2001
  • Presenter – "Child Abduction, Alienation and Abuse,", International Child Abduction Conference, Washington D.C., by PARENT International, 2001
  • Presenter - "Child Abduction", National Association of Women Judges’ District 2 Conference in New York, 2000
  • "International Child Abduction", Presentations to Lawyers, Judges, Court Personnel and Social Workers, Berlin, Germany, 1999
  • "Missing and Exploited Children: Parental Kidnapping", Panel at the Second World Congress on Family Law and the Rights of Children and Youth held in Association, Annual Conference of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, San Francisco, CA., 1997
  • "Statutes and Regulations on Abduction and Kidnapping..", "Women, Children and Domestic Violence: Current Tensions and Emerging Issues", Fordham University, Sup. Ct. of NY, Appellate Division Ist Dept., Lawyers Comm. against Domestic Violence & NY State Judicial Comm. on Women, April 26, 1998 - April 27, 1998

Honors and Awards

  • Fellow, International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and U.S.A. Chapter, 2008 - Present

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Commission on the Future of Moravian College: Global Engagement Task Force, Member, 2000
  • American Bar Association, International Section, Vice-Chair, International Family Law Committee, 2005 - 2006
  • Northampton County Bar Association, Member, Past Board of Governors

Past Employment Positions

  • Rooney, Mannicci & Gardner, Partner, 2000 - 2005
  • Law Offices of Frederick P. Rooney, Associate, 1995 - 2000
  • Colleges and Universities: Lafayette College, Allentown, 1974 - 1992
  • College, Northampton Community College, Lehigh County, 1974 - 1992
  • Community College, and Cedar Crest College, 1974 - 1992

Pro Bono Activities

  • Board of Managers, Moravian Historical Society, 2006 - Present
  • Prior Board Member, Sayre Child Care Center
  • Prior Board Member, Sun Inn
  • Ball and Auction Committee Member, Celtic Cultural Alliance
  • Board Member, Children's Rights of Pennsylvania, Allentown Pennsylvania


  • English