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

Spike in silver divorce caused by a variety of factors

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Some senior citizens in Florida are part of a growing group that they probably never thought they would be in — silver divorce. A recent study by demographers at a university shows that while the divorce rate has gone down or remained consistent for some groups, in the aging “silver” population, that divorce rate has suddenly spiked. In fact, the rate of divorce per 1,000 women age 65 and older has gone up to around five times what it was in 1970.

Some are attributing this spike to one spouse suddenly deciding to divorce after the children are all out of the house. That, however, is one of the many reasons why this population might be heading to divorce court. Another plausible reason is that as a whole, this group isn’t going to deal with a lukewarm marriage. Mediocrity seemingly isn’t acceptable for them. Finally, the mainstream acceptance of divorce seems to have come into play because the stigma of divorce that was present in the past is not present now.

For some senior citizens, being married to a second or subsequent spouse is the reason for the divorce. Ex-spouses and adult children from previous marriages might place a strain on the new marriage, which could lead to divorce.

No matter what the reason for the divorce, it is important for this aging population to make sure that they are protected during the divorce. Knowing about asset division is one way that they can make sure they have the best possible settlement that will help them as they try to enjoy all life has to offer them for their remaining years.

Source: The Daily News Online, “Suddenly single: Boomers lead the way in silver divorces” Ana Veciana-Suarez, May. 05, 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