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Young boys returned to their fathers after 18 months abroad

Florida residents may be interested to learn that an international search for two California boys who were the subjects of custody disputes has finally ended. Their mother, a permanent legal resident of the U.S. but who is currently in France, could face felony kidnapping charges if she returns to California.

The two boys, ages 10 and 4, each have different fathers who shared custody with the woman. She had received permission from a court to travel with the children to Europe for a month during the summer of 2012. She did not return with the children when she was supposed to because, according to her, her ex-husbands would have tried to take the boys away from her. As a result, multiple law enforcement agencies got involved and an international arrest warrant was issued. She is alleged to have changed the boys' names and appearances in order to elude authorities while settling with them in France.

She was eventually arrested on Dec. 19 and a French court held hearings which the boys' fathers attended. In the hearing involving the younger son, the woman alleged that she felt that the boy would be at risk with his father. The court disagreed and instead ruled that she had placed her sons at risk during the 18-month ordeal. The ruling returned the boys to their fathers, who had each been awarded sole legal and physical custody of their sons back in California after their abductions.

Unfortunately, in a divorce, child custody and visitation issues may sometimes get messy. Even when there is joint custody, both parents have to comply with the custody arrangement when it comes to time sharing, especially if a court has ordered it. Courts will normally place primary importance on a consideration of the best interests of the children when issuing such orders.

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

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