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How complicated can a child custody case get?

The number of child custody issues in New Orleans must be astronomical. With so many families living in the city, divorce is bound to happen. When the split is between parents, custody of the children must be determined. Some cases are easier than others, usually those with parents who are willing to work together on a co-parenting agreement that allows them to share joint custody and raise the child as parents and friends. But then there is the opposite end of the spectrum: parents who are willing to do anything to have custody of their children, whether its legal or not.

This is usually the reason behind an international custody battle. And one woman is currently in the midst of her own battle over her five-year-old daughter. In order to see her again, she had to fly to Mali because her ex-husband disappeared with her just days after Christmas in 2011. At the time, the parents held joint custody of their daughter. When the father failed to bring back the daughter after his scheduled time with her, the mother knew something was up.

Law enforcement officials were brought in on the case and flight searches determined that the man had flown to his native Mali with his daughter. For some reason, it is rather simple for a divorced parent with partial custody to leave the country with the child or children in tow. Governments hoping to prevent such custodial interference have signed onto the Hague Abduction Convention, allowing for situations such as this to be ameliorated at a quicker pace. The problem in this case is that Mali is not a signatory of the aforementioned convention.

This puts the mother in a terrible position. In order for her to have any say in court, she has to be in Mali for hearings associated with her child's custody, even though orders have already been made here in the U.S. Since Mali is not a member of the Hague Convention, those orders -- which give sole custody to the mother and require the return of the daughter to America -- mean nothing. As evidenced by this mother's situation, child custody cases can get complicated quickly. Many people contact lawyers during such cases to ensure that everything goes smoothly.

Source:  The Grio, "Mother flies to Mali to resume custody battle for her child" Kunbi Tinuoye, Jun. 04, 2013

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