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Child custody dispute leads family to flee the country

In a story that has shocked the nation, a mother and father are accused of kidnapping their two young children and fleeing the country. Their escape was short-lived, however, and the entire family has been returned to United States soil. The story serves as an illustration of what not to do in regard to child custody matters, and sends a warning to parents in California and elsewhere who are facing a challenge to their parental rights.

The parents lost custody of their two small boys, ages two and four. The children were placed in the care of their maternal grandparents. Following that decision, the father allegedly went to the home of the grandparents, tied up his mother-in-law and left with the boys.

The family then fled by sea to Cuba, where the Cuban authorities were alerted to their presence. Both Cuban and American officials worked to return the family to the United States. Once back, the children were returned to their grandparents and the parents jailed on charges of kidnapping, child neglect, and interference with custody, among other charges.

As this case demonstrates, the desire to care for one's children can be so string as to override reason and logic. While it is understandable that these parents wanted desperately to reunite with their kids, the way that they chose to go about that process may have eliminated any chance of regaining child custody rights in the future. When California parents are facing a challenge to their parental rights, it is imperative that they determine the best legal approach to maintain custody of their children.

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

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