A struggle of law is under way between a mother and father. At the center of the case are claims and counter claims over child custody violations and allegations of child abuse. Florida couples embroiled in disputes involving family law may wish to take heed. There’s much to be learned from the situation being reported.
The friction in this case likely started years ago when the husband and wife first separated. Things appear to have come to a head this past June, however. According to reports on the case, the mother gathered up the four children, ages 13 to nine, from under the nose of their custodial father in Georgia on June 10 and took them with her to Texas.
This past week, apparently after some major prodding from the father, authorities in Texas arrested the mother, but the children were not with her and so they remain missing. The mother is now reportedly in jail on a charge of interference of custody. The father is enlisting legal and investigatory help to try to find them and have them returned to him.
In the meantime, dueling claims are being made by both parents. The father says the children were taken without his consent back in June. He says they were, in essence, kidnapped off the street by their mother, who later texted him to say that she was exercising her right to two weeks of summer visitation.
The problem, as a magistrate in Texas noted on her arrest, is that she violated the parenting plan that had been put in place in Georgia. The court agreed with the father’s claim that not only did the mother not give the one-week notice of her visitation plans, she also took the children out of the state, both of which violated the child custody order in place.
When she appeared in court, the mother argued that she took the action she did because her children have been abused by their father. She produced letters that supposedly were written by the children in support of that claim. As might be expected, the magistrate all but dismissed the explanation, saying that taking matters into her own hands and foregoing court procedure is not the way to handle things.
Florida parents who feel they might be in similar circumstances can learn from this, and take to heart the importance of working with an experienced legal representative.
Source: The Champion, “Noncustodial mother jailed, missing children not returned,” Andrew Cauthen, Aug. 24, 2012