Appellate court reverses judge’s decision in abduction case

In all matters involving child custody (both in Nashville and elsewhere), family courts almost universally default to the standard of what is believed to be in the best interests of the children involved. That aspect may often outweigh the actions of the parents. However, a parent’s actions may ultimately have bearing on what a child’s best interest may be. If it is believed that they may be acting in a manner that could be potentially harmful to a child, then the court may choose to reflect that opinion in its ruling.

Such was the decision handed down by a federal appeals court in Florida recently after reviewing the details of a case involving the international abduction of two young boys. The boys currently live in Florida with their mother, who is an American citizen. Their father, who is from Panama, is fighting to have them returned to his custody. This most recent incident actually marks the second time the mother has abducted the boys from Panama, with the first occurring in 2009. She was later ordered to return the boys to Panama, which she did, only to once again return with them to the U.S. in 2014.

The judge who initially heard the case ruled that the mother was wrong for taking the boys, yet also decided that since the boys were settled in their new home in Florida, sending them back to Panama would be harmful. The appellate court reversed that decision, saying it ignored the seriousness of the mother’s actions in abducting the boys a second time.

As this case demonstrates, jurisdictional matters involving child custody can be quite complex. One might be wise to enlist the services of an experienced family law attorney when dealing with them.