Zuba & Associates, P.C.

Mother struggles for return of child from overseas

It is typical for emotions to run high in child custody disputes. Children are precious, and ensuring their protection and well-being is one of the most important aspects of many divorce settlements. Parents in Illinois with child custody concerns will be interested in a complicated case involving a mother who is fighting to be reunited with her 14-month-old daughter.

The father, a former Army major, has custody of the little girl in the United Arab Emirates. The parents are not yet divorced, but their custody dispute may serve as a cautionary tale for all loving parents.

The family was living together in Dubai, and the mother says she came home from work one day to find that her husband and daughter were gone. The husband had apparently left a note saying that he had the daughter and that he would be filing for a divorce.

The woman also found her belongings outside the home, and she says she was left with no money. When she went to the U.S. Embassy for help, she was told to seek proper legal assistance. That is when she returned to the United States.

A court in Tennessee (the family's home state) ruled in the woman's favor, issuing an order for the husband to bring the daughter back to the United States. The husband, who claimed in a Dubai court that his wife committed adultery, filed an emergency motion to dismiss the order in the United States. However, his motion was denied.

The mother denies the adultery charge, and she has argued that her husband should be held in contempt of court for not following the order. She also knows the court order will be difficult to enforce while the husband and daughter remain outside the United States. The United Arab Emirates does not participate in international child abduction agreements, and U.S. court rulings have little chance of being upheld overseas.

The story is a powerful reminder for parents in Illinois who are engaged in a child custody dispute. Even if the divorcing parties cannot get along, it is still of the utmost importance to make the well-being of the child the highest priority. With that in mind, parents will want a solid child custody agreement that helps prevent complicated disputes in the future.

Source: Fox News, "Tennessee Mom Seeking Return of Child From Dubai," May 7, 2012

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