International custody battles are heartbreaking affairs. They often pit parents against foreign governmental systems they don’t quite understand as they fight for the return of children illegally taken overseas during custody fights.
However, a Texas resident has hope that his ordeal may soon be over. The man has been in a brutal custody battle with his former wife over their young son for five long years.
The Texan granted his consent for his ex to travel to Brazil, her native country, with their son for a wedding in 2013. She was supposed to return with the boy less than three weeks later. She didn’t.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which overseas cases involving international child abductions, has since determined that the child’s mother never intended to return — and that her parents assisted with the kidnapping.
Despite a Texas court’s order that the child’s residence couldn’t be changed without the court’s consent and a shared custody order, the mother enrolled her child in a Brazilian school two months before she left this country for the alleged wedding. She then found employment with the same school, which her own mother has ties to, a month later.
In addition to helping their daughter make arrangements to live and work in Brazil, the maternal grandparents are accused of assisting their daughter hide the abduction, buying time so she could get a ruling in Brazil giving her custody of the child.
The child’s maternal grandfather lied to the boy’s father repeatedly, claiming that the mother was ill and needed medical care — delaying her return with their son. One such lie, in an email, came the very day the father was officially informed that his ex was establishing a new life in Brazil.
The father has only seen his son on visits under the eyes of armed guards when he visits Brazil.
Now, FBI agents have arrested the grandparents at an airport in Florida and are holding them for their role in the child abduction — a leverage point that the father hopes will spark the child’s return.
Cases like these illustrate the perils of custody when a foreign country gets involved — Brazil granted the mother custody without even notifying the father of the hearing. If you share child custody with a foreign national, make sure you consider all possibilities before you agree to your child’s international travel.
Source: abcNEWS, “Texas dad hopeful of son’s return from Brazil after former in-laws jailed in 5-year international custody battle,” Bill Hutchinson and Sabina Ghebremedhin, Feb. 12, 2018