Child custody fights are often bitter and protracted. But when a judge issues an order awarding custody to one parent, the fight is supposed to be over. Some parents, however, take their children and deny custody to the other parent in violation of court orders. When the abducting parent is a foreign national and they take the children out of the country, the situation becomes a nightmare for the parent left behind.
A Snowmass, Colorado man knows how this feels. He and his ex-wife were divorced after five years of marriage. He and his ex-wife, a native of Argentina, are the parents of two young daughters, now ages four and seven. The ex-wife requested that she be allowed to take the girls with her back to Argentina. After a bitter 13-month custody dispute, a Colorado judge ruled that the father should have primary custody and that the girls should remain in the United States. But just three weeks after this ruling, the ex-wife abducted the girls and took them to Argentina. That was three years ago, and the girls have been in Argentina ever since.
The father is fighting a legal battle in Argentina to get his daughters back to the United States. An appellate court in Argentina ruled in his favor, but his ex-wife appealed. The man is now waiting for a decision from the Argentina Supreme Court.
Cases of international abduction are among the most challenging child custody cases. The parent’s case is stronger if, like the man in this case, there is already a U.S. court order granting custody rights to the U.S. parent. Seeking enforcement of a U.S. court order in a foreign country is often a lengthy and expensive process, but ultimately most foreign countries will give at least some deference to the determination made by the U.S. Court.
Source: CNN, “Colorado Dad Fights-and Waits-for Daughters Taken by Mom to Argentina,” Elizabeth Stuart & Ana Cabrera, Nov. 12, 2013