Maryland residents may have seen the national news regarding two fathers who recently returned to California with their abducted children. Their two sons had been kept in Europe by the boys' mother more than 18 months prior. The mother, a 32-year-old Slovakian woman with legal U.S. residency, had previously shared child custody of her 10-year-old son with his father, a former president of Hollywood Records. The woman also shared custody over her 4-year-old son with his father, a voiceover agent residing in Beverly Hills.
The woman initially had the permission of the court to take the children to the Czech Republic and Slovakia for the month of June 2012. The fathers later realized that the mother had no intention of returning to the U.S. with the children, and they filed child concealment complaints. Local authorities awarded the fathers sole custody over the boys in light of the alleged abduction.
Authorities eventually instituted an international manhunt, and on Dec. 19, the mother was arrested in the town of Divonne les Bains in France, where she had enrolled her children in a local school using false names. The mother had previously taken her children around Europe and had allegedly taken measures to conceal their identities. On Dec. 26, the French court ordered that the boys be returned to their legal guardians; the fathers brought their sons back to America on Dec. 28.
Although this case involves two parents in Los Angeles, child abduction can occur in any location. Maryland parents who have concerns that the other parent may flee the country or state with their children may want to consult a family law attorney. A lawyer may help a parent request that a court implement measures to reduce the risk of abduction by another parent.
Source: Huffington Post, "Fathers Reunited With Their Kids 18 Months After Kidnapping", Brenda Gazzar, December 30, 2013