Man jailed after custody dispute leads to international abduction

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A Florida girl who has been missing for nearly four years has been reunited with her family. Her kidnapper is allegedly her own father, who took the girl across the border to Mexico after a child custody dispute. The 55-year-old man is now facing criminal charges for the international abduction.

The girl had spent a weekend with her father in August 2009 and was supposed to be dropped off to her mother at a local daycare center. Instead, her father took her to Mexico. In September 2009, police issued a warrant for the man’s arrest.

Law enforcement officials in Volusia County searched high and low for the girl, now 12 years old. Their big break finally came on May 12, when someone reported that the girl and her father were seen in a rural area in Mexico. U.S. and Mexican authorities worked together to apprehend the man and bring the two back to the United States.

The man is now in Volusia County Branch Jail on a $50,000 bond. He faces a felony charge for removing the child from the state illegally. Additional charges could be pending. The girl has been reunited with her family in Miami.

When courts make decisions regarding child custody, they keep the best interests of the child in mind. However, parents do not always agree with the custody order, and in extreme cases, they may plot to kidnap the child. The best thing to do is seek a child custody modification. This would allow both parents to work together and compromise on a custody plan that works for all parties involved.

Source: The Daytona Beach News-Journal, “Dad found with daughter in Mexico now in Volusia County jail” Anthony DeFeo, May. 21, 2014

Elin Nordegren happy in Florida after divorcing Tiger Woods

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Going through a divorce when you have children isn’t easy. When Elin Nordegren and Tiger Woods were going through their high-profile divorce, they had two children to think about. In a recent interview, Nordegren says that she tamped down the animosity with Woods just for the children’s sake. Now, she says they have come to a place where they respect each other.

Florida residents might remember some of the details of the divorce. Woods was found to be a serial cheater, which led to the divorce that was finalized in August of 2010. Nordegren walked away with a $100 million settlement.

She says that she and Woods now have a relationship that is centered around their two children. She calls him a “great father.” She is living in Florida, dating a billionaire and raising the children. Woods is dating Lindsey Vonn.

Nordegren admits that there was some hurt when she would attend events for the children when Vonn and Woods were also there. She said she never suspected anything was going on with Woods during those 3.5 years he was being unfaithful.

The Woods-Nordegren relationship shows that putting the best interests of the child at the forefront of a divorce is vital to ensure that the children have two parents who love them. Anyone who is going through a child custody battle might need to take that lesson to heart. Because child custody battles are emotional, it is easy to lose sight of what is important — the children’s happiness.

Knowing your rights as you go through the divorce and child custody hearing can help you to ensure that you get a settlement that helps you as start over. It also helps to ensure that your children have what they need to learn to live their new life with divorced parents.

Source: The Washington Post, “Elin Nordegren on Tiger Woods: ‘We are doing really good’” Cindy Boren, May. 22, 2014

Child custody cases in Florida cannot use foreign law

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A new measure was passed in Florida to make it so that foreign laws and all related articles are not going to be legally usable in court cases. Specifically, this change will have an impact on child custody cases, divorce cases or child support cases.

The proposal passed through the House, meaning that it has been sent on to the governor. It passed in the House by a vote of 78-40.

The only time that foreign law could come into play, under this new policy, would be if the law did not take away any of the rights that the parties on both sides have in the United States and under the laws in Florida. A judge would have to examine the case to make sure that those rights were not violated.

Those who opposed the bills said that it was not necessary to put it into law. They wanted the supporters to show when foreign laws had even been used, implying that it was something that did not happen often. Some opponents felt that the law was aimed at Muslims and that it was little more than an insult.

The bill will not be used in many cases, such as those involving businesses or those where state laws are overruled by federal laws.

If someone is involved in a custody dispute, this law could have a realistic impact going forward, so it is good to be aware of the changes to the law. As noted, it will not change many cases, but it is never wise to overlook anything that could come into play when fighting for custody rights and the best interests of a child.

Source: 610 KDAL, “Florida legislature forbids use of foreign law in state court” Bill Cotterell, Apr. 30, 2014

Florida mother’s arrest could lead to child custody battle

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Relatives of five children living in Florida were shocked to find the kids living in a filthy home filled with trash. According to her own posts on a social media site, the children’s mother was dreading the kids getting out of school. The post also indicated that she wanted to make plans to get away from them, and she asked her friends to “rescue” her. The woman was charged with neglect after authorities learned just how bad the living conditions actually were.

Not only was there trash on the ground that people had to wade through just to walk around the house, but there were also various insect infestations, black mold in the walls and a whole host of other health and sanitation issues. The children have been removed from the home, the mother has been arrested, and the home has been condemned.

The relatives are now arriving from other parts of the country to help the children. One strategy they are taking involves attempting to get custody of the kids so that they can live in a much more healthy situation. A judge will have to determine if this is in the best interests of the child in each case, however. It is not yet known if the mother will be fighting the custody attempts.

The uncle of two of the children talked to the press and was very candid about how appalled he was with the whole situation. He said that he wished he had been able to help the children sooner, but that they had never complained about their living situation or told anyone just how bad it really was.

Many laws are in place to protect children who are neglected. However, getting custody of a another person’s child can be complex and difficult. Even if neglect has been an issue, it would be best for a person trying to gain custody to be as informed as possible in order to navigate the potentially complicated process.

Source: WFTV, “Relatives of Orlando children found living in filth come to Fla. to help” No author given, Mar. 27, 2014

Custody dispute over teen to be settled by judge

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When most parents make decisions regarding their child, they usually consider all the available options. Whether the issue is what school their child should attend or the medical treatment the child should receive, a parent should always keep the best interests of the child in mind. Sometimes though, others might feel that parents are not acting in a child’s best interests and decide to intervene. When this happens, parents can find themselves locked in a custody battle they never thought would happen to them.

Orlando readers might be familiar with a dispute between parents of a teen girl and a hospital. The teen girl was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease by one hospital, but a second hospital disagreed. The second hospital believes that the girl does not have the disease but has a psychological disorder. When the girl’s parents attempted to transfer back to the original hospital, the second hospital intervened and charged the parents with medical child abuse. The teen has been in the custody of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families ever since.

The parents have filed a motion to be granted conditional custody of their daughter. Children and families services is fighting the motion. The judge can find in favor of the parents, find in favor for the agency or opt to transfer the teen’s care to the state of Connecticut, which is her home state.

This case is interesting because generally, social services gets involved when a child is being denied care. However in this case, care is being given, but there is a disagreement about a diagnosis. The judge’s decision will be important because it could set a precedent; it could allow a hospital over overrule a parent’s decision about the care and treatment for a child. Those who find themselves in a battle for their child should consider seeking the advice of an experienced legal professional so their rights to parent can be enforced and protected.

Source: Newsmax, “Justina Pelletier: Judge to Settle Custody Battle for 15-Year-Old” Clyde Hughes, Mar. 20, 2014

Is shared parenting in the best interests of the child?

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Divorcing parents have to decide which parent will be the custodial parent and which will be the noncustodial parent. However, a growing number of parents are opting for a shared parenting arrangement. Shared parenting means that both parents have equal time – and equal say – in the upbringing of the children. Orlando readers may be interested to learn that state legislatures throughout the country are starting to consider the approach.

Several states, including Florida, have attempted to pass legislation that would require parents to make more equal parental arrangements. Florida legislatures passed a law in 2012 that would have included a shared parenting plan, but it was vetoed by Governor Rick Scott. A similar issue also occurred in Minnesota. The legislature passed a parenting law that would have increased the minimum custody from 25 to 35 percent, but the governor vetoed the bill.

Although governors might not be willing to sign these pieces of legislature, advocates of shared parenting are undeterred and convinced the arrangement is in the best interest of children. Because there are more fathers acting as primary caregivers, the arrangement ensures that both parents will continue to have equal access to the children. They do concede that in cases where there was abuse, it is not the ideal arrangement.

Although it is true that in most cases children benefit from having equal access to both parents, those who oppose legislation making shared parenting a requirement believe judges need to have the latitude to determine how much access each parent has in deciding legal custody. For anyone who feels his or her parenting arrangement is not ideal, speaking with an experienced legal professional can help a parent determine the best course of action that will better serve everyone involved.

Source: USA Today, “Shared parenting could be new divorce outcome” Jonathan Ellis, Jan. 28, 2014

Man kills self, toddler in midst of child custody dispute

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Parents who are embroiled in Florida custody disputes may feel tempted to take drastic measures. After all, it can be extraordinarily frustrating to manage child custody battles, especially around the holidays. Sadly, one East Coast man was so distraught about a continued child custody dispute that he killed both his child and himself on Dec. 22. The man was supposed to have met with his wife at 1 p.m. that day to return his 3-year-old son after a three-hour custody visit. Instead, however, he is seen on security cameras throwing both himself and his child from the top of a high-rise building in downtown New York City. The man had apparently known someone who lived in that building on the Upper West Side.

Law enforcement officials say that the child’s mother is suffering extreme emotional distress. She told officers that her husband had threatened to kill their son and himself during previous encounters. The child’s parents were estranged at the time of the incident.

Official reports show that the woman accused her husband of being abusive. Further, the couple had split in August over serious conflicts about money. The physical violence became so severe that the mother and her son were both protected under a restraining order, but that restriction was lifted about three months before this tragic incident.

Parents who are concerned about protecting the best interests of the child may worry about the abusive nature of their ex-spouses or estranged partners. In those cases, family attorneys in Florida can help identify potential safety concerns, drafting child custody agreements that require supervised visits, for example. No child should ever be put in danger because of visitation rights afforded to an unstable parent. A professional consultation with a qualified family lawyer may eliminate the possibility of abuse that could result from a joint custody agreement.

Source: New York Post, “Custody fight ends in father-son murder-suicide from 52nd floor” Jamie Schram, Reuven Fenton and Larry Celona, Dec. 22, 2013

D Wade’s ex is not crazy according to judge

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Some couple get divorced, and they have no issues making decisions regarding alimony, child support or child custody. Other couples however seem to fight about every aspect of the divorce, including a custody dispute, although most couple don’t do battle in the media spotlight. This would be the case for Miami Heat star Dwayne Wade and his ex-wife, who have been embroiled in a custody battle for several years.

An appeals court just ruled that Wade’s ex-wife was not crazy or in need of an evaluation. The evaluation was requested by Wade as a way to have her time with their two boys reduced. The request was made in response to a videotape of Siohvaughn protesting outside a Chicago courthouse where part of the couple’s divorce proceedings had taken place.

Although the couple has been officially divorced since 2008, child custody issues have being ongoing. In this latest attempt, not only was Wade denied his request, but the appeals judge ruled that the original judge who has granted the request by Wade be removed from the case.

From this point on, another judge will be hearing the child custody case. Legal counsel for Siohvaughn Wade is thrilled with this decision, believing that the original judge was star-struck. Counsel hopes that the dispute can finally be settled with the best interests of the children in mind.

Child custody disputes can become acrimonious, but it is important that both parents remember that the children have two parents and should have access to both as much as possible. Anyone who feels they are being denied access to their children should speak to a legal professional experienced in family law issues. These individuals can help a person protect their rights so they can continue to be a vital and ever-present part of their children’s lives.

Source: Gossip Extra, “EXCLUSIVE – Miami Appeals Court: Dwyane Wade’s ex-Wife Not Crazy; It’s Her Right To Talk Trash About Him!” Jose Lambiet, Oct. 23, 2013

Reproductive science may affect child custody proceedings

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Science is encroaching on the realm of child custody as it steams ahead into the world of frozen embryos. Already one of the toughest portions of a divorce for couples in Orlando, Florida, it seems that some couples are starting to argue over the rights to decide on the fates of any embryos the couple created together. Previously considered property, it seems that decisions in some states have elicited the possibility that this might actually be a child custody matter, considering the property has the potential to become a living child one day.

For instance, one couple who decided to divorce had put aside nine frozen embryos. The couple had signed an agreement with the fertility center when this happened, giving custody of the embryos to the woman in case of a split. But she was deemed an unfit parent by the courts when the man was given sole custody of their three-year-old daughter during the divorce proceedings. This brings several worries to the table for the father: He does not want his ex-wife to become a parent again because she may not be able to properly provide for another child and he does not want to be held responsible for child support when he wanted the embryos destroyed. Would it be right to hold a person liable for child support when she or he wanted the embryos destroyed instead of used and brought into this world? Even if the person using the embryos waived child support, she or he may still need to seek assistance from the state. The government may then, in turn, sue the other donor of the embryo – the other biological parent – for the support it has paid.

Experts are worried about how quickly reproductive science is moving forward as it eclipses the law and continues on. It makes many areas of divorce rather murky and uncertain, forcing family law judges to make decisions that are relevant to the current social climate. Legal issues will likely continue to arise as fertility techniques become more and more viable. Perhaps other techniques may arise in the future, too, and legislators will have to play catch-up each and every time.

Source: Washington Times, “Are unborn children people or property in a divorce, and who decides?” Myra Fleischer, Sep. 19, 2013

Absence in court could affect outcome of custody disputes

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Divorce often has a major effect on the lives of any involved children. As soon as the divorce is made known to them, it begins affecting them. In the meantime, parents in Orlando, Florida, may get caught up in the back-and-forth of divorce proceedings, which often last for a lengthy period of time. Despite the fact that custody disputes are included in this process, parents still may manage to neglect the best interests of the child. If recent reports are anything to go on, this may be exactly what is happening in the case between the singer Usher and his former spouse Tameka Raymond.

The former couple was in court several weeks ago to discuss primary custody of their two sons. Just a handful of weeks later and the two were scheduled to be in court once more. The problem was that Usher failed to show up. This meant that no progress could be made in the case. Meanwhile, Tameka has fired her former legal team and moved on to another set of lawyers. She has also changed her legal strategy. Supposedly, she will be seeking the first right of refusal at bare minimum. It seems that what she wants changed the most is the fact that her sons have been spending a considerable amount of time with aunts and nannies when not in the care of Usher himself.

If she receives the first right of refusal, it means that she will be given the responsibility of caring for the kids whenever Usher is not available to do so. Like many parents, she seems to want to care for her children. Whether or not she will get the ability to do so depends on how the dispute goes. Apparently, Usher’s absence was noted by the judge, who seemed upset by this fact. A 30-minute meeting in the judge’s chambers came after the realization that the hearing would not be able to move forward. It is unclear what this meeting may have meant for the father, but it is likely that another absence will contribute to a shift in the proceedings that may fall in the mother’s favor.

Source: Atlanta Blackstar, “Child Custody War: Usher is No-Show at Court as Tameka Raymond Hires New Attorneys” Taylor Gordon, Aug. 30, 2013