A recent child custody case involving parents who allegedly abducted their children from the grandparents who had official guardianship over the children has ended with the safe return of the two young boys. This recent abduction allegation was not the first time that the father had apparently used force in an attempt to take the boys. Reports indicate that after losing child custody of the boys due to a drug possession charge, the father used a gun to try and take the children from a previous foster home. Maryland parents may look to this as an example of what not to do.

The current case began when the father reportedly broke into the home of the maternal grandparents and restrained his mother-in-law by tying her up. Afterward, he fled the scene with the two boys. He and his wife then set sail away from the southern state where they had allegedly abducted the boys.

The family was later spotted in Cuba, and Cuban officials acted in rare cooperation with American authorities to return the family to our shores. Although Cuba and the United States do not share an extradition treaty, Cuba sent the couple back to their native land and the children were also returned to their maternal grandparents. This is a safe and happy ending to a story that could have had a much more tragic ending.

Noncustodial parents in Maryland who disagree with a court’s decision should likely focus on taking the necessary steps to resolve whatever issues may have caused a judge to grant custody to another individual rather than risking an illegal and unsafe action. Alternatively, there are options to appeal a judge’s decision that still show a parent’s commitment to acting in the children’s best interests. By appropriately understanding the law and any potential ramifications, a parent can strengthen their child custody case rather than doing it irreparable harm, as these parents have potentially done.

Source: Anderson Independent Mail, “U.S. couple in jail after fleeing to Cuba with children,” April 10, 2013