California residents are well aware that one of the most potentially contentious aspects of divorce can be that of determining child custody. While separating property and other assets, or even ironing out spousal support details are certainly difficult, making the ultimate decision of where the children live and with whom is truly life altering. While the laws in California can make child custody determinations relatively straightforward, based off a best interest of the child concept, these court decisions are not always honored in other countries.
Recently, a woman and her daughter traveled to South America, allegedly to visit the daughter's father.
According to the mother, the state of Massachusetts gave her full custody of her daughter after the couple divorced four years ago.
While on their way to visit the father, already in South America, the mother received a phone call, warning her not to take the last flight to Brazil. According to the source, the father planned to try to keep the child in Brazil with him.
Thus, while the two did not go to Southern Brazil, where the father was located, federal police still located the mother and issued a court order, confiscating their passports. While a local judge refused the father's request for full custody, he also prohibited the mother and daughter from leaving the country until the father was permitted a full visit with his daughter.
Cases like these are troubling because, even after a full court battle in the U.S., other countries may apply different laws to divorces. International child custody and divorce issues can be extremely difficult. It is for this reason that obtaining vigorous legal representation is so imperative.
Source: CBS Boston, "Mass. mom, daughter, stranded in Brazil over child custody battle," July 5, 2013.