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International child abduction carries a steep price

Divorces vary so much, it is difficult to generalize. Some are reasonable, with the parties working to do the best they can for their children. The couple may have grown up and aged out of love and out of their marriage. But there is no real animosity, and they are willing to cooperate in raising their children.

But there is the other side of the coin. Their matrimony has turned into acrimony, and every interaction is full of tension and conflict. Not only are such situations bad for the parents, with all of the additional stress, and it is typically this element of the divorce process that can harm children.

It is not the actual separation, but the tension, conflict and stress that accompanies a marriage and divorce where the relationship between the parents has deteriorated to constant, bitter fighting that makes divorce problematic.

This may prompt one of the parents to breech their child custody agreement and flee with their child or children to get away. In some cases, the parent may attempt to leave more than the state where their child lives, but the country.

While there may be emotional underpinnings for such a move, it can be dangerous for the parent and the child. For one, it is a crime. And because it involves crossing the border and leaving the U.S., it becomes a federal crime of international child abduction.

Before you get to this point, you need to speak with an attorney, and discuss your options. If there is threat to the safety of the children, modifications of the child custody order and orders for protection may be possible.

A woman, who fled to India with her child, returned this month to work things out. Unfortunately, she will now have to work with the U.S. Attorney's Office and may face time in a federal prison for abducting her child, which is a high price to pay in a child custody matter.

Dallasnews.com, "Mother's arrest at D/FW Airport shows difficulties of international custody disputes," Julieta Chiquillo, September 15, 2014

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