When a couple chooses to divorce, emotions run high and spill over into what can become a lengthy and contentious divorce. When divorcing spouses also have children together, disputes about child custody and visitation matters often arise and pit parent against parent. Such was the case when an American man and his Brazillian wife divorced in 2010.

While going through the divorce process and attempting to sort out child custody terms, the man’s ex-wife revealed her plans to move back to her native Brazil. More than a year later, a family law judge finally reached a decision in the custody matter and ruled that the couple’s two young girls would stay in the U.S. with their father.

However, three weeks after the ruling, the mother fled with her daughters to Brazil. After three-and-a-half years and numerous legal pleas and petitions, the father may finally soon be reunited with his two daughters. Having exhausted legal options, the girls’ mother was recently ordered by a Brazilian appellate court to return the girls to their father in the U.S.

While international child custody issues, especially international abduction cases,  are often particularly complex and lengthy, even custody disputes amongst parents who live in the same city can take months or years to sort out. Maryland parents who seek to retain or gain primary child custody of a child or children would be wise to consult with a family law attorney. An attorney who handles child custody disputes can answer questions, provide advice and assist in helping a parent gain more access to and time with his or her child.

Source: CNN, ” U.S. Dad Wins Huge Custody Fight,” Ana Cabrera and Elizabeth Stuart, March 31, 2014