Bentley, Gibson, Kopecki, Smith, P.C.

Mother in custody battle after son is taken out of the country

Custody disputes are common among couples that have been or are going through a divorce. If the parents of a child cannot agree on a custody arrangement, the courts will have to determine legal custody. It is important that both parents work through the legal system and focus on the best interests of the child. However, in some cases, child custody disputes can escalate to the point of a kidnapping by a parent and possibly result in criminal charges.

Reading, Pennsylvania, readers may find interesting a story involving an international abduction of a child following a custody dispute. The mother of a 12-year-old boy is currently in a battle to get her son back to the United States after his father did not return him following a July 13 visitation. The mother now believes her son and ex-husband are in the Canary Islands.

In 2008, following a divorce and a difficult custody battle, the mother was granted temporary primary custody of the boy, with the courts awarding her permanent primary custody -- and the father visitation rights -- in 2011. The father tried to contest the custody decision, but the Georgia Supreme Court denied his request.

According to the mother, after her ex-husband was held in contempt for failing to pay child support, he disappeared with the boy during one of their visits. She reports that the FBI believes that the pair flew to London and have been seen in Spain, the Czech Republic and, most recently, the Canary Islands. The child's mother and her husband are continuing their efforts to find the boy.

While the outcome of this situation is still to be seen, it is a situation parents should strive to avoid. Anyone in a situation involving a child custody modification or dispute should make sure to understand all of the laws regarding such cases. Going outside the law rarely helps a person's case.

Source:, "Athens couple agonizes over kidnapped child," Joe Johnson, Oct. 7, 2012

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