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Ater kidnapping, fathers see sons again

New Mexico parents may be interested in the dramatic story of a custody battle involving a California woman and her two sons. The woman shared child custody with the boys' respective fathers and took them on an authorized vacation to Europe in the summer of 2012. An international search for her started when she failed to return when scheduled, and their fathers feared she had kidnapped the two boys.

The search for the woman was a multi-country affair, and it involved both Interpol and the FBI as well as local authorities. When she and the boys were located, they had settled in a town in France near the Switzerland border. The woman had changed the boys' names, and she had allowed their hair to grow out so confusion about their gender was possible. She kept the boys overseas for about 18 months before they were returned to their fathers. A court has awarded the fathers sole custody in light of the woman's breach of the custody agreements.

The woman has said that she fears one of the sons is in danger when with his father. She also has said that she fears the boys' fathers are trying to get the children away from her, citing numerous legal battles she's had to fight and court costs she's had to pay. She has said that her escape to Europe was prompted by violence that one of the boys suffered at the hands of his father. If arrested in the U.S., the mother could face multiple felony charges.

This case illustrates some of the issues arising in custody disputes. It is important to remember that the best interests of the children are always paramount.

Source: Huffington Post, "Fathers Reunited With Their Kids 18 Months After Kidnapping", Brenda Gazzar, December 30, 2013

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