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Violation of custody agreement results in arrest

Earlier this month we wrote a blog post about legal issues that could arise when a parent who shares custody of a child with the other parent decides to relocate. In that post we discussed what generally needs to happen with the custody agreement before a parent can make the move. For example, a relocation considered to be significant, such as moving to another country, would need to be approved by the court. The failure to secure that approval could lead to legal problems for the parent who took the child. A woman from the east coast is currently facing that reality.

The woman was taken into custody after the plane she, her son and her mother were on, was forced to return to the airport, three hours into the trip. The plane was headed to China, where the boy was born and the mother presumably is from. According to a spokesman from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, she was arrested on suspicion of committing an international parental kidnapping. Her mother was allowed to go free and the 4-year-old boy was returned to his father.

The woman admitted that the trip out of the country was in violation of the joint custody agreement she and the child’s father had in place after the couple started divorce proceedings. As a part of that custody agreement, neither parent can travel outside of the country without “express written and notarized consent of the other party, provided in advance of the trip.” She did not have permission from the boy’s father to take their son to China.

Parents need to realize the role of custody agreements and the importance in following them. The failure to do so could result in a parent seeing even less of his or her child.

Source: FOX CT, “Custody Battle Diverts Flight; Boston Area Man Describes Situation On Plane,” Katia Hetter, Sept. 6, 2014

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