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posted in Child Custody

on Wednesday, February 29, 2012.

International custody battles often catch the attention of those living in Connecticut. The stories often involve a large amount of diplomacy and bureaucracy with the child and parents caught in the middle. One such situation involved an American woman and her estranged British husband. She had legal custody of the child when the situation began.

The two were married in the United Kingdom and had a son in 1995. He was born in Hawaii, making him a U.S. citizen. While living in Chile, the couple separated. The mother was granted full custody, while the father was given visitation rights. A court in Chile ruled that neither parent could take the child out of the country without the other parent’s consent. But the mother took her child and traveled to the United States, claiming that visa rules were making it hard for her to find work and a place to live.

In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the man could continue his attempts to regain custody of his son, despite his noncustodial status. An international treaty, which likely helped the father in his endeavor, is now making that impossible. The Hague Convention, which deals with international child abduction, was only designed to protect children younger than 16 years.

And because the child is now 16, a federal judge dismissed the case. Mother and son are both allegedly happy with the closure they received. According to records, the son told a federal judge that he did not want to live with or see his father. The father is still refusing to grant the woman a divorce.

It’s never easy for a parent to lose custody of a child, but it’s better to let a dispute play out in court rather than trying to take the law into your own hands. An experienced family law attorney can likely help a parent navigate the process.

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