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American children return to country after abduction by mother

Single and divorced Georgia parents may be aware of some of the challenges associated with sharing custody of their children. In extreme scenarios, parents may fear that another parent may be a flight risk, threatening to leave the state or country with the children in tow. In California, two fathers recently returned stateside with their sons, whose mother abducted the children to Europe for approximately 18 months.

The 32-year-old mother, a Slovakian with legal U.S. residency, had been given permission by a local court in Los Angeles to travel with her two children to the Czech Republic and Slovakia for the month of June 2012. At the time, the mother had joint legal and physical custody of her two sons with their respective fathers.

The fathers eventually realized that the mother had no intention of returning to the U.S. with their children, and both fathers filed child concealment complaints. In light of the kidnapping, a local court awarded the men with full child custody.

An international arrest warrant was issued for the mother and local authorities, the FBI and Interpol were all involved in seeking the woman's return to the U.S. On Dec. 19, 2013, the mother was arrested in the town of Divonne les Bains in France, where she had settled with her children in February after traveling with them around Europe.

The mother had enrolled her sons, now ages 4 and 10, in a local school, and she had changed their appearances to make them less recognizable. On Dec. 26, a French court ordered the boys' return to their fathers, and the fathers brought their sons back to Los Angeles on Dec. 28. Parents who have concerns that a party with shared custody may be at risk for abducting their children may consult a family law attorney. An attorney may decide to ask a court to take precautionary measures to ensure the safety of the children in question.

Source: Huffington Post, "Fathers Reunited With Their Kids 18 Months After Kidnapping", Brenda Gazzar, December 29, 2013

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