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International child abductions and Texas parents

In Texas and around the country, international child abductions usually fall under the applicable Hague Convention. This is an international agreement that says if a child is illegally taken from their home country, then they must be returned to their country of residence, unless the parent left behind poses a risk of danger.

In 2013, a Texas man's ex-wife abducted their son on the pretense of attending a family wedding in Brazil, a country that is a signatory to the treaty. The Brazilian courts gave her full legal custody there, and she had him enrolled in a school. A court in Texas found that the mother wrongly and maliciously concealed the boy from his father. A Brazilian court agreed the boy was taken illegally, but ruled that he was well-settled and should stay there. The man and his attorney say the mother tried to hide the premeditated abduction by altering documents.

A judge gave the man partial visitation rights, and every eight weeks he flies from Houston to Salvador to visit his now 6-year-old son. The man believes that his son cannot easily communicate his thoughts and feelings to him and is being impacted by this. He has asked a sitting congressman and the State Department to help him with the international child custody dispute, but President Obama may have to be directly involved.

Child custody disputes are often filled with emotion, and parents who are going through them sometimes fail to remember that the primary goal should be the best interests of the child. A family law attorney can often assist a parent who is going through one by negotiating an agreement that can be submitted to the court for its approval.

Source: CBS News, "Dad battles for custody of son, says ex-wife illegally abducted him", Nov. 17, 2015

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