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Parents kidnap children in child custody dispute

Few matters come before Connecticut courts that are more contentious and emotional than those surrounding the care and control of children. Child custody is among the most deeply personal types of law practiced, and those involved often let their emotions overrun their reason. Unfortunately, parents who do not follow the proper legal procedures to gain or regain custody of their children are at risk of losing access to their kids permanently.

Such may be the case for a couple who recently fled the country following an undesirable child custody outcome. The parents of 2 and 4-year old boys had recently lost custody of the children, who were sent to live with their maternal grandparents. Shortly after that decision, the father allegedly entered the home of the grandparents, tied up his mother-in-law and left with the two boys.

He and his wife fled to Cuba with the children on a sailboat. Once there, Cuban officials alerted the United States government of their presence, and helped coordinate their arrest and return to American soil. They now face charges of kidnapping, child neglect and interference with child custody. The father faces additional charges connected to the alleged abduction of the boys, who have since been returned to the care of their grandparents.

This case demonstrates the lengths to which parents will go to keep their family together. These parents risked a great deal to reunite with their children. However, by going outside of the law and violating an existing child custody order, they may end up in prison. In addition, their ability to see their children could be greatly impeded as a result of their choices. Parents in Connecticut or elsewhere who face a difficult and emotional struggle over their parental rights should make every effort to fight for their children within the guidelines of state law.

Source: ABC News, "Parents in Cuba Kidnap Case Isolated From Jail Population," Alyssa Newcomb, April 10, 2013

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