posted in Child Custody
on Thursday, December 6, 2012.
When a child custody battle becomes international, it becomes exponentially more complex. Divorces in Connecticut are often complicated enough and emotions run high during the legal custody determination, adding fuel to the fire. But when one parent is outside of U.S. borders, the situation can necessitate involvement from the federal governments of both this country and wherever the other parent is.
Just as complex is the situation of a 32-year-old man who was arrested by agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in 2010. According to allegations, he was an illegal immigrant from Mexico who crossed the border in 2003. He married a U.S. citizen sometime after coming from Mexico and had three sons with his new wife.
After his arrest, he was deported to Mexico and his wife was determined to be unfit as a parent. Reports indicate that she has a mental illness and collects federal disability benefits for the condition. Social workers took this into account when determining her ability as a parent. The decision stripped her of the couple’s children and placed the three boys into the care of two separate foster families. Both families were attempting to adopt the couple’s children.
A week-long hearing was recently held in this case and the decision may be used as a precedent for other, similar cases. The presiding judge decided that the boys will be returned to their father and may be allowed to live in Mexico with him. Social workers are concerned about the condition of his home there as it reportedly does not have running water.
This case may be important in divorce custody determinations in the future, considering that more than 5,000 children were in foster care due to the detaining or deporting of their parents, a figure that comes from a 2011 report from the Applied Research Center. According to reports, the federal government does not track such data.