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Broward Co. woman receives prison for kidnapping daughter

It is important that parents follow child custody orders from the court, as there are many methods for enforcing child custody orders.

A Broward County woman was recently sentenced to a year in federal prison, and is likely to be deported, for international parental kidnapping. The child custody issue stems from the woman's 2011 decision to take her daughter to the Dominican Republic, where both were found. The FBI, the U.S. Attorney's Office, the U.S. Department of Justice and Office of International Affairs were all involved in the search. The woman violated a state child custody order by taking the 10-year old to the Dominican Republic for a year. Prior to the woman taking the girl, the child's father had been awarded primary custody of the child and the woman had been ordered to pay $570 a month in child support. The judge said that the stern sentence would be a deterrent to others taking a child from a custodial parent and out of the country.

International child custody disputes can be complex and difficult. When a parent abducts a child and takes the child out of the country, the situation presents more challenges than some other types of custody disputes and parental kidnapping situations. As was the case here, there are still legal options that can be considered. If the country that the parent has fled to is part of an international treaty, the process of having the child returned can be less complicated. Outside of that, there are still various remedies available to can be considered.

When a child has been kidnapped, even in instances when the child has been kidnapped by a parent that does not have custody rights to have the child, law enforcement at the state and federal level will help to intervene. Additional law enforcement entities or government offices may become involved if the kidnapping is international in nature.

Child custody disputes are often fraught with emotion. For those unhappy with a child custody arrangement or their visitation rights, it is best to seek an agreement modification or some alternative that abides by the legal requirements in child custody situations.

Source: Sun Sentinel, "Broward mom imprisoned for kidnapping daughter," Paula McMahon, April 18, 2013.

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