International kidnapping leads to child custody modifications

Florida residents may have heard of two fathers who were recently re-united with their sons. While both California men had shared custody agreements with the mother after their divorces, she purposely kept the children in Europe after her authorized vacation with them had ended. She not only kept the children, she also changed their names and appearance, and moved around often in order to avoid returning them to America and negotiating new child custody agreements with their fathers.

The woman and her two boys were found after 18 months in a French town near the border with Switzerland where she had enrolled the boys in school with different names. In what has become an international incident, the FBI, Interpol and local authorities worked together to find the boys and return them to their fathers. Charges have been filed against her in both US and French courts, and US authorities are currently working to have her extradited.

While the woman is facing criminal charges for her actions, there will also be custody matters to deal with. Both fathers have currently been granted sole legal and physical custody of the boys by the court. Attorneys for both sides will potentially have a lot of negotiating to do before new agreements can be made.

Child custody cases such as this can raise many questions for divorced parents, especially when international travel may be in a parent's plans. A workable custodial agreement between ex-spouses may be able to help alleviate some of those concerns. Attorneys might be able to help a divorced couple create a custody plan that keeps the best interests of the children paramount.

Source: Huffington Post, "Fathers Reunited With Their Kids 18 Months After Kidnapping", Brenda Gazzar, December 30, 2013

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