Maryland parents who must deal with child custody issues may wonder how the courts view one parent taking a couple’s children to another country and remaining there without the other parent’s permission. One such child custody dispute that crossed national borders recently came to a happy ending for the father who fought to get his children back for nearly five years. The child custody dispute began back in June 2008 when the man’s wife refused to return after she took her children on a three-week trip to another country. The man filed for divorce in Aug. 2008 and was awarded full custody of his children, even though at that point they were still in the other country with their mother.

This case marks just one of the many international child custody disputes that are ongoing at any point. One report indicates that there could be as many as 11,000 to 12,000 children who have been improperly transported out of the United States. The U.S. Department of State actually receives anywhere from several hundred to over 1,000 reports of international parental abduction cases each year. Many of those parents petition the Department of State to help them get their children back to this country.

This international custody case seems particularly interesting because the father was a native of Argentina and the mother was an American citizen raised in that country. It was actually the parent who was an American citizen who refused to bring the children back to our country. The father has since become an American citizen himself, having been naturalized in Dec. 2008.

The father persevered, even when some people told him he should give up, and fought in both Argentinean and American courtrooms to get his three children back. His efforts were rewarded in Dec. 2012 when the children enmeshed in this child custody dispute were at long last returned to the United States. Maryland residents who find themselves dealing with similar child custody issues may feel heartened by the fact that this father who refused to back down for either his own sake or that of his children has now been reunited with them.

Source: WSLS 10, ” Ind. man, kids reunited after long custody battle,” Sophia Voravong, Jan. 21, 2013