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

Parenting agreement about circumcision under dispute by mother

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Parenting a child when you aren’t in a relationship with the other parent can be a challenge. Each parent has a specific way he or she thinks the child should be raised. These ways sometimes conflict with each other. When that happens, trouble might follow. A recent Florida case highlights how tense things can get when the unmarried parents of a child can’t agree on certain aspects of the child’s care.

The 3-year-boy at the center of this child custody battle isn’t circumcised. His mother agreed to let his father have him circumcised at the father’s expense. That agreement was made in a child custody agreement the mother signed in December of 2011. The father then signed the agreement, which was entered into the court record in January of 2012.

Now, the woman is trying to go back on that agreement. She says that since the child is three, she feels the risk of the anesthesia is too great for him to get the circumcision. The boy’s father feels like the circumcision is still in the best interests of the child.

A pediatric urologist has asserted that having the boy circumcised can lower his risk of contracting HIV, as well as penile cancer. He also says that the procedure is considered safe up until the age of 10, at which time the risk of torn sutures is increased due to puberty.

The mother petitioned the court to stop the father from having the child circumcised. A Palm Beach County Circuit Judge declined the mother’s request; however, the 4th District Court of Appeal has issued a stay in the case. Now, the fate of the boy’s circumcision is on hold pending the court’s decision.

Parenting agreements are usually a good idea for unmarried parents; however, this case shows that even with an agreement, things aren’t always clear cut. Any father who is having child custody issues should make sure he understands how he can exert his rights to make sure that his child is cared for in a manner that puts the child’s interests first.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, “Boynton mom sues to stop circumcision” Scott T. Smith, May. 14, 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

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

Pregnant women may need permission to move

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Florida fathers are often overlooked in the child custody proceedings that decide their kids’ future. This is particularly true when the fathers live some distance away from the mothers of their children. A new child custody case that involves Olympic skier Bode Miller could create a resolution to this type of dispute, however, as fathers may now be able to protest the movements of women who are pregnant with their children. This could improve fathers’ rights to child custody considerations, especially among those who end up living states away from their youngsters.

Miller’s romantic dealings with the mother of his child started when they went on several dates and eventually slept together. Although the pair decided to forego a long-term relationship, the woman ended up pregnant, and she chose to leave the state of California. The woman, a former Marine, departed for New York to attend Columbia University. Miller, who initially seemed ambivalent about the child custody scenario, eventually chose to file for paternity and custody, and Miller was awarded custody of the child.

Now, that ruling out of New York has been overturned by a higher court, which argued that women’s movements and decisions to relocate cannot be limited strictly because they are pregnant. In other words, women who are pregnant would have to seek the permission of the person who impregnated them before they could move to another state, or potentially even within the same region.

Understandably, the pending appeal in the case is meeting with substantial opposition from women’s groups, though fathers argue that they should not be shut out of visitation just because of a pregnant woman’s decision. Fathers’ rights deserve to be considered even when a woman is just pregnant with a child – after all, her subsequent decisions can lead to major changes in the family’s life. Fathers who are seeking assistance with their child custody cases should consider seeking the assistance of a qualified Florida attorney who can help them draft a custody agreement that serves the best interests of the child.

Source: www.care2.com, “Pregnant? You may need the baby’s father’s permission to move” Robin Marty, Nov. 27, 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

Settlement reached in Wade divorce, visitation to be discussed

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As many NBA fans in Orlando are aware, Dwyane Wade — the longtime icon of the Miami Heat before LeBron James took his talents to South Beach — has been embroiled in a nasty divorce with his ex-wife since 2007, the year he filed. Since then, Wade and his ex-wife, Siohvaughn, have engaged (pardon the pun) in numerous public battles over their relationship and its tumultuous ending.

Money has been central to these debates; in particular the endorsement money Wade gets from a number of sponsors. However, the child custody arrangement for the now-former couple has also been subject to numerous disputes.

Initially, the debate centered around custody. Child custody can be a complex issue in divorce; but many times the splitting couple realizes that shared custody is the best thing for everyone involved. That was not the case in Wade’s divorce, as Dwyane was granted sole custody of the two sons he had with Siohvaughn.

That’s a significant ruling in any custody dispute. Prior to a court ruling on custody, it can behoove both spouses to enter negotiations on the topic. Court rulings, though impartial, are rigid and often lack the details that either spouse is looking for. Once determined, it can be difficult to successfully appeal the ruling. Negotiations between the spouses and their attorneys can result in a more appropriate and personalized custody agreement.

However, in cases where sole custody is awarded, the spouse left out of the equation can take legal action to earn visitation rights.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Dwyane Wade divorce drama ends after settlement with ex-wife,” Chuck Schilken, July 23, 2013

Chances of divorce may increase with excessive Facebook use

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The internet and social media have done wonders to connect people from all walks of life and from all across the globe. The past 20 years or so of globalization and interconnectivity — spurred by the internet — has been amazing to watch and experience.

Facebook has been at the forefront of changing the way we relate to each other. The social media site says that there are, literally, a billion active users on Facebook every month. So many good things can come from the interconnectivity provided by Facebook; and, yes, there are certainly negative aspects to the site as well (that annoying guy in your news feed always finds unique ways to unknowingly aggravate you).

But why are we talking about Facebook here on a divorce blog? There are two important reasons, and the first involves the social media site and the potential for divorce if you use it too much. The theory comes from a new study that looked at 205 “excessive” Facebook users (the qualifier means they check the site more than once every hour). 79 percent of these Facebook users were involved in a romantic relationship; and the study found that with excessive Facebook use came more troubles with the user’s significant other.

Since such users are more likely to keep tabs on their boyfriend or girlfriend online, “Facebook-induced jealousy,” as the study called it, was more likely. Researchers surmise that such a phenomenon could make divorce more common for married excessive Facebook users.

The other reason Facebook is important to divorce is that, whether you check it excessively or not, the social media site can prove very influential during divorce. Inflammatory or abusive statuses aimed at your soon-to-be-ex can be referenced in family court, which could affect a number of issues, including child custody. Photos and other information can also be used by divorcing spouses, to substantiate certain claims and give credence to why they are asking for certain conditions.

Source: Huffington Post, “Facebook, Divorce Linked In New Study,” June 6, 2013