It is always tragic to hear the news that a divorce or child custody battle resulted in an abduction. Sometimes one parent decides to take the children and flee. This is especially dangerous in Florida because of easy access to international travel.
But late last month, a grieving Florida father was finally reunited with his two young children after nearly a year of uncertainty. Last December, his estranged wife abducted the children during divorce proceedings.
The woman was discovered and arrested in Vancouver, Washington, where she and her kids had been staying in a homeless shelter since June of this year. She now faces charges of child neglect and interference with child custody.
According to shelter workers, the woman had told a believable story about being a victim of domestic violence. However, one worker found it suspicious that the 30-year-old mother did not want to accept medical care, food and other services offered by the shelter.
When conducting an internet search, the employee discovered the older child's name on several websites about missing children. The proper authorities were called and the woman was arrested.
While this father had to be without his children for nearly a year, this particular case had a happy ending. In other cases, children may never be returned, especially if one parent successfully flees to a country that will not enforce US custody laws.
In order to prevent child abductions, Florida has enacted laws expanding a judge's power to decide when one spouse may be a flight risk. Therefore, it is important for the other parent to communicate any suspicions or concerns as soon as possible.
Source: Brevard Times, "Fireball Run Leads To Recovery Of Missing Melbourne Children," Nov. 1, 2011
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