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Mother prevails in child abduction dispute

New Mexico parents concerned about child custody issues may be interested in a recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. The court ruled 9-0 in favor of the mother in the child custody and abduction case. The ruling centered on a time limitation required by international rules on child abduction.

The father in case has not seen his daughter in almost four years. He claims his previous partner abducted the child and took her from London, where they lived, to New York. The mother, on the other hand, claims that the father was abusive. She took her daughter and stayed in a women's home for several months before heading to New York in July 2009.

The Hague Convention of the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction was cited by the father in the case. It states that a child who has been abducted should be returned to its country of residence and custody rights will be adjudicated in that country. However, it also requires the parent to make a complaint within one year of the child leaving the country. The father waited longer than a year to make his complaint in this case. Until further custody proceedings can continue, the child will remain with her mother.

This case highlights the importance having an understanding of child custody laws may have. If the father had acted quicker or known about the time limitation, he could have had his daughter returned to him in England and determined child custody there. All custody disputes are different, but having a better understanding of custody laws may help someone involved in such a controversy find a solution to the issue.

Source: Reuters, "U.S. top court rules for mother in child abduction fight", Lawrence Hurley, March 05, 2014

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