Child custody dispute led to parental abduction

Few things are more stressful to Florida parents than a bitter custody battle. That is especially true when one parent feels strongly that his or her child would be better off having no connection to the other parent. In such cases, a small number of parents consider fleeing with their child to avoid having to comply with a child custody determination. This, however, is always a poor decision, and can result in criminal charges and a full loss of child custody rights.

An example is found in the case of a mother who was recently arrested for relocating with her young son to avoid an unfavorable child custody ruling. She and the child have been missing since late 2014. The child's father has made every effort to locate his son since that time, with the help of law enforcement agencies, including the FBI.

The case was recently featured on an episode of the television show "The Hunt with John Walsh." Shortly afterward, authorities received information on the woman's whereabouts, and were able to locate the mother and her son. The child has been reunited with his father, and the mother is facing serious criminal charges.

As this case demonstrates, attempting to flee in order to avoid compliance with a child custody determination can have serious negative ramifications. Had this mother stayed and fought for a modification in the original child custody order, she might have been successful. Now, however, she will very likely receive limited to no access to her young son. For those in Florida who might consider similar drastic measures, this case should serve as a cautionary tale.

Source:, "Berks man reunited with missing son", Jim Lewis, Sept. 20, 2017

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