Florida woman violates custody order by keeping child from father

When parents decide to go their separate ways, any children from the relationship may get caught in the tug-of-war of custody between the parents. During child custody proceedings, emotions may run high and even the most rational mind may make irrational decisions.

According to authorities, a 35-year-old Broward County woman violated a court-ordered custody order by taking her 10-year-old daughter to the Dominican Republic and keeping the girl away from her father for more than a year. In 2011, a judge had awarded primary custody to the father and ordered the woman to pay child support. The judge noted that the woman failed to provide stability for the child, kept uprooting the child by moving, and was isolating the child from her father. In the best interest of the child, the court gave the father primary custody but recommended that the parents share custody of the child.

However, five months after the order, the mother fled with the child to the Dominican Republic, would only allow the child to speak with her father over the phone twice a year and intended to keep the child from her father for at least two years. Nearly a year later the child has been reunited with her father and the woman is facing an international parental kidnapping charge.

Having both parents in the life of a child can be beneficial for their growth and development. In Florida, even though courts recognize the importance of both parents sharing equal time, occasionally, in the best interest of the child, a parent may not get to spend as much time as they would have liked. Nevertheless, a parent may be able to modify an existing custody order to spend more time with their child under certain circumstances.

When faced with custody issues, parents should put the interest of their child ahead of their dispute and work to seek a fair custody arrangement. However, for parents where working together is not possible, it may be helpful to seek the advice of an expert in this area of law to evaluate the options.

Source: Sun Sentinel, "Broward mom pleads guilty to kidnapping daughter, keeping her abroad fro year," Paula McMohan, Feb 1, 2013

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