Texas residents may have seen a few international child custody cases receiving publicity lately, including the trial of a New Hampshire mother who stole her 8-year-old daughter and ran away to Central America a decade ago. These stories demonstrate the complex issues at play when a child custody case crosses international borders.
Fort Worth parents who are going through a divorce may be interested in some information on child custody issues when there was domestic abuse involved. While a court has the final say, a recent history of abuse often prevents contact between the abusive parent and their child.
When courts command families to adhere to child custody arrangements, officials usually allow some leeway for minor discrepancies. For instance, most parents probably won't lose custody rights for things like failing to deliver a child to an agreed exchange on time if it only happens once or twice. Those who intentionally violate the terms of a judgment or order, however, can be prosecuted as a result.
In Texas, it may be possible for a custodial parent to move out of state with his or her child. However, the other parent may need to provide consent before the move is made. Additionally, both parents may need to agree to a revised visitation schedule, which may need to be approved by a judge. Courts will consider a variety of factors before deciding whether to allow the move if the noncustodial parent objects.
Child custody disputes are difficult for most parents, but when one parent takes a child from Texas and relocates to another country or fails to return the child from a foreign country following a visit, the situation can be devastating. In order to combat this type of problem, the U.S. along with many other countries has ratified a treaty known as the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.
In the view of Texas courts handling family law matters, allowing a child to develop and maintain good relationships with both parents is considered to be in the child's best interests in most circumstances. When divorcing parents are unable to agree on visitation matters, a judge will grant the noncustodial parent those rights according to a standard possession schedule established by the legislature.
A Texas girl who was kidnapped by her mother in April 2002 was located in Mexico on Sept. 30. Two years before her disappearance, the girl's parents had finalized a divorce settlement in which the girl's father was granted full child custody. The girl's mother was reportedly spending a weekend with her 4-year-old daughter when the two of them went missing.