International child abductions create tough legal challenges

When Texas parents decide that it is time to seek a divorce, the resulting child custody battle can cause emotions to rise. In some cases, one parent may fear that the other parent will be granted full or joint custody of any children the couple may have had. In extreme cases, the parent may flee the country with their children, which often keeps the other parent from having any idea where those children went.

This is not that uncommon of an occurrence. In fact, the U.S. State Department noted that more than 1,000 American children go missing every year after being abducted by a parent. Part of the issue is that diplomatic pressures can make it very difficult for the country to demand the return of a child; in many cases, public perception, trade and even foreign may be at stake. Additionally, parents and attorneys in international abduction cases also often have to travel back and forth, which may not be financially feasible.

There have been multiple notable cases over the years. For example, a New Hampshire woman took her then 8-year-old daughter to Central America without permission. She ultimately decided to return to the U.S. when the daughter turned 18. Both she and her second husband face multiple charges, including three felony custodial interference charges and witness tampering, each of which could result in seven years in prison.

While the state of Texas takes international child custody cases extremely seriously, it can be difficult to return children who have been taken abroad by the other parent. Regardless, a family law attorney may assist the parent by working with the proper officials who have the authority to request that the children be brought back into the country. Additionally, once the children are back, the attorney may assist with seeking sole custody.