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International child abductions and the law

Texas shares a border with a foreign nation, so there might be more cases involving international child custody abducitons than there might be in the rest of America. Recent cases involving parents who violated custody orders and fled the nation are challenging the body of law surrounding these issues, and legislative reforms on the matter have already begun to be put into effect.

It has been estimated that about 8,000 children are abducted by a parent and taken out of the country every year. This may include both noncustodial parents and parents who break a custody agreement by taking the child or by keeping them for too long. Statistics indicate that approximately half of the children are returned to their rightful parent or custodian.

Some cases in recent years may change the way that the United States deals with international parental abduction. One woman took her child to Brazil in 2004 and refused to return. Even though both the U.S. and Brazil are signatories to a treaty that emphasizes the commitment of member nations to prevent the wrongful removal of children, it was still difficult to force the woman to return the child or even to determine with certainty where they were. It required the intervention of a U.S. congressman, as well as many expensive journeys back and forth between the countries, to retrieve the child.

The incident inspired the congressman to propose new legislation to combat this problem, and it was signed into law in 2014. An attorney may be able to provide advice about the changing legal environment and how to best navigate any child custody issues issues that may be presented.

Source:, ABC News, Complex Challenges Posed in International Child Abductions," Rik Stevens, May 10, 2015

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Bruce Turner

In addition to his law degree, Bruce Turner has a master's degree in tax law and is Board Certified in Commercial Real Estate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

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