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International child custody dispute ends happily

Now that summer is here and families all across the state of Illinois and beyond are making vacation plans, it’s important to consider how travel arrangements can affect some family law arrangements. One case involving a father that was forced to fight an international child custody dispute with his ex-wife for months illustrates all that can go wrong when kids are taken out of the country illegally.

The U.S. State Department claims that 326 of the 1004 children illegally taken out of the country last year were brought to Mexico. The Hague Abduction Convention was established to help parents legally reestablish custody of children abducted in international custody disputes, and the State Department says Hague guidelines were responsible for over 100 children being returned to their custodial parents last year alone. Even so, the process of resolving such disputes is often long and complex.

One recent case involving a Texas man whose two children were abducted by their mother and taken to Mexico took nine months to resolve. The children’s mother allegedly threatened to take them after their father filed for divorce and was awarded primary custody. Once the ex-wife acted on that threat, she violated the terms of their court-ordered custody agreement.

Immediately following his kids abduction, the ex-husband filed an emergency legal petition and worked with multiple international law experts for months to regain custody. The man estimates that around $100,000 was spent on the entire process, and it took six months alone for his documents to be confirmed by Mexican authorities.

Once it was finally confirmed that the father would officially be reunited with his kids, it only took five days for him to bring them back home. The children’s mother cannot reportedly return to the U. S. without a special visa.

Source: southtownstar.suntimes.com, “Dad has kids home safe after legal fight with their mom who took them to Mexico,” Susan Demar Lafferty, June 6, 2014

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