Drama in the skies as FBI arrests mom in child custody dispute

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Child Custody on Thursday, September 11, 2014.

We recently commented on a study showing that co-parenting arrangements, in which divorcing parents share joint custody of a child, are becoming increasingly popular with judges. In that post, we recommended that Missouri parents should be cautious when entering into such agreements, and they should make sure that their rights and the best interests of the child are protected.

As popular as the concept of joint custody might be, it is not for everyone. Sometimes, a lack of cooperation or trust between parents forces them to take extreme measures in the enforcement of child custody orders. This was demonstrated in dramatic fashion recently when an international flight originating in the U.S. had to be abruptly diverted back to its point of departure due to a child custody dispute.

The drama began innocently with a child and mother traveling together, but it ended with the arrest of the woman for attempted kidnapping. The FBI alerted the pilot of the plane to turn around after the child’s father reported that he feared the woman was planning to leave the country and not return. By exercising his rights to legal custody, the father was able to avoid a possible international abduction.

This recent incident was reminiscent of an international custody dispute that drew widespread media attention when a woman fled the U.S. with her nine-year-old son. Her husband was forced into a protracted legal custody battle that took five years until a court finally returned custody to him.

The difficulties of raising a child multiply when parents are divorced or separated. The best interests of the child must be balanced with the rights of each of the parents to participate in making decisions pertaining to school, medical needs and other issues that arise when raising children.

Regardless of whether a court grants joint custody to both parents or designates one person as the custodial parent with visitation rights to the other, child custody is a complex and emotionally-charged area of the law. Parents should have a clear understanding of their legal rights before going to court or agreeing to a custody arrangement.

Source: CBS News, “United Airlines flight diverted over child custody battle,” Sept. 5, 2014

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