San Diego parents who have worked out a child custody arrangement with the courts, either by agreement or by judge’s order, typically adhere to the details without too much deviation. Occasionally, a parent without primary physical custody may be dissatisfied with the amount of time they get to spend with the child. In some cases, that parent may choose to ignore the order and take the child without permission. This kind of a situation is very serious and requires the attention of law enforcement officers and a local family law attorney with experience handling child custody disputes between disputing parents.
A Canadian woman is currently trying to get her children back from her estranged husband who took their kids to Afghanistan. An article in the Huffington Post recounts the woman’s devastation when she found out that the children’s father did not bring them to Europe as planned, but instead took them to another country. He is refusing to bring them home. The mother was awarded full custody of the children by a Canadian court. She allowed the dad to take the children to Europe for the summer, only to find out that he defied her wishes.
With respect to international child custody disputes, many countries are signatories to the Hague Act — an international agreement that protects children from abduction. Unfortunately for this mother, Afghanistan is not a signatory to the Act. The Canadian government and local law enforcement authorities have told her that there is little that can be done to force the father to bring the children back. The mother has stated that she will not give up and is still working to bring her children home.
A parent who is worried that the other parent may take their child out of the state — or worse — out of the country (without permission), can seek help ahead of time. In California, if a parent can show that there is a risk that the child will be removed from the state if the court does not do something that day or within a few days, that parent may request that the court issue temporary custody orders on an emergency basis.
If one parent violates a custody or visitation order, the other parent also has some helpful remedies: 1) contact the local police department and ask them to enforce the order; 2) contact the local district attorney’s office; and 3) one may file an action for “contempt,” asking the court to enforce the order and make a finding that the other parent willfully disobeyed the court order. If the situation rises to this level, it can become very complicated and have significant consequences for all parties involved, especially the children.
Child custody matters are of a sensitive and serious nature. The importance of handling the dispute or controversial issue in an appropriate and expeditious manner cannot be overstated. If you are faced with a child custody dispute, it is important to contact an experienced family law attorney who is fully familiar with the local laws and procedures.
Parents with questions about child custody matters are encouraged to contact Doppelt & Forney. Mr. Doppelt is a knowledgeable family law attorney with more than 20 years of experience representing parents in Southern California. Doppelt & Forney serves clients in Linda Vista, Encinitas, Scripps Ranch, San Diego, and throughout Southern California. For a consultation with a dedicated family lawyer, contact Doppelt & Forney through the law firm’s website or give us a call toll-free at (800) ROY IS IT (769-4748).
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