Many divorced parents in the Lone Star State know how agonizing it is to be apart from their children. Especially in the early stages of divorce, it can be tough to adjust to not living full time with them as a result of a shared custody arrangement with the children’s other parent. But imagine what it’s like to go without seeing your child for several years because he or she is living in another country. That was the plight of a Texas man whose former partner took their daughter to live with her in England for three years, against his will.
International child custody disputes are often an uphill battle. If the child in question is taken to a foreign country, the parent left in the U.S. has to reckon with a court procedure that he or she may not understand, and a judge who may have a different agenda than U.S. family law judges.
In this case, the man claims that his fiance misled him after giving birth to their daughter. In April 2010, amid accusations that the mother kidnapped the child, a judge in England sided with the mother by granting her custody. The father tried to obtain custody again in Texas, but a Collin County judge later tossed out the case based on the British judge’s ruling. The child’s father described the frustration he felt as the matter bounced from court to court, from England to Texas. “”All we wanted was for the truth to come out in a fair trial,” he said.
In the end, it was in the father’s home state of Texas where he was granted full custody of the girl. His former fiance has been ordered to deliver the child to him, but at last report he was still waiting for that to happen. His attorney said that at least now, the mother’s failure to do so will put her in contempt of court.
Child custody cases are tough whenever two parents can’t agree on an arrangement, but they’re especially complicated when they involve two different countries. Working with a family law attorney can help ease parents’ frustration and educate them about their options for securing custody or visitation rights.
Source: Star-Telegram, “Judge orders child be returned to her father in Texas,” Mitch Mitchell, Aug. 20, 2013