Nancy L. Sponseller

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Children return to U.S. after abduction by mother 18 months prior

On behalf of Law Office of Nancy L. Sponseller posted on Wednesday, January 8, 2014.

Single and divorced parents in Ohio may be familiar with some of the difficulties involved in sharing custody of children. One extreme scenario that may be a concern for parents is that another parent will try to leave the state or even the country with the children. A recent case in which a mother took her children to France made national headlines after the mother was found and arrested 18 months after leaving the U.S.

The woman, a 32-year-old Slovakian who is a legal resident of the U.S., had two children with two different fathers. The woman and the two fathers shared child custody of the boys. A court had originally given the woman permission to take her two sons to the Czech Republic and Slovakia for the month of June 2012. When the fathers realized that the woman would not be returning with their sons, now ages 4 and 10, they filed child concealment complaints with a local court.

An international arrest warrant was issued for the woman, and local authorities worked along with the FBI and Interpol to find and apprehend the woman. On Dec. 19, 2013, the woman was arrested near her children’s school in Divonne les Bains, France, where she had enrolled them some months before. The woman had settled in the town in February 2013 after traveling around Europe with the boys; the mother had taken measures to conceal her sons’ appearances. On Dec. 26, a French court ruled that the boys should be returned to their fathers; the men brought their children back to Los Angeles two days later.

Many parents with joint custody are concerned that the other parent may try to violate the custody agreement. These parents may consult with a family law attorney to file a modification of the custody agreement.

Source: Huffington Post, “Fathers Reunited With Their Kids 18 Months After Kidnapping“, Brenda Gazzar, December 30, 2013