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Fathers reunite with missing sons

A custody battle that culminated in an international manhunt and the search for two allegedly kidnapped boys came to an end Dec. 28. The story may be of interest to parents in Tennessee who are in the midst of their own custody battles. The mother of two boys allegedly abducted them after she didn't return from a trip to Europe. The woman shares custody of the boys with their fathers (both of whom are her ex-husbands), and the vacation was authorized until the woman didn't come back. She altered the boys' appearances and enrolled them in a school in France. Meanwhile, an international arrest warrant was placed against her. The search for the mother and her boys involved the FBI and Interpol.

Once the boys were returned, the fathers were awarded sole custody. The mother alleged that one of the boys suffered violence at the hands of his father and that the violence motivated her refusal to bring the children home. The children were kept in Europe for about 18 months.

The mother has described herself as someone who has had to fight to keep her part of shared custody, and she alleges that both fathers have tried to take the boys away from her entirely. She could potentially face multiple felony charges. If convicted, she would serve up to six years in a county jail, and her bail would be set at $500,000. However, the charges can only be filed if she's extradited and charged in the United States.

This case is one of the more dramatic manifestations of family law difficulties. Considerations have to be made for the well-being of the child, and parents are bound to follow rules of custody agreements set by the courts. Both the mother and the fathers could benefit from legal representation as the custody struggle continues.

Source: Huffington Post, "Fathers Reunited With Their Kids 18 Months After Kidnapping", Brenda Gazzar, December 30, 2013

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