New York residents may be interested to learn about an international child custody battle that has been going on for the past two years. In 2013, a father in Texas learned that his ex-wife was not returning from Brazil with his son after traveling there for a family wedding. Without the father's knowledge, the mother had enrolled the boy in a new school and been granted full child custody by a Brazilian court.
Since learning what happened to his son, the father has been trying to get the State Department to intervene. According to the man and his attorney, the mother abducted the boy by altering several documents and intentionally concealing his location. A Texas court and a federal court in Brazil both found that the mother had abducted the boy. However, the judge in Brazil said that the boy is well settled and should remain in Brazil regardless of the abduction.
According to the Hague Convention, courts in a child's home country are supposed to rule on custody matters. The Hague Convention also states that children who are taken out of their home country illegally should be returned to their home country as long as there is no risk to their safety. The father's attorney said that enforcement of these laws would require President Obama's direct involvement.
International child custody battles are complicated, especially when they involve countries that are not part of the Hague Convention. If a parent suspects that his or her child has been abducted by the other parent, an attorney may be able to help enforce the existing child custody order.
Source: CBS News, "Dad battles for custody of son, says ex-wife illegally abducted him," Nov. 17, 2015