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Child custody dispute leads to kidnapping charges

When parents are no longer in a relationship and are unable to agree upon the care and custody of a shared child, the situation can become complicated. Often, these matters end up before a Texas judge as part of a formal child custody dispute. The legal process to determine custody matters can be stressful and lengthy, and the end result is not always easy for one or both parents to accept. That said, it is imperative that parents follow the determinations laid out within the child custody order. Failure to do so can result in serious criminal charges and a loss of access to the child in question.

An example is found in a young mother who was involved in a custody dispute with the father of her 3-year-old daughter. The matter went to court, and a judge awarded shared custody, with each parent receiving the child on alternate weeks. According to reports, the child's mother did not want her daughter to receive vaccinations and was also against enrolling the toddler in preschool, both of which were priorities for the child's father.  

During a scheduled visit in May 2014, the child's mother disappeared. The father reported his daughter as missing, and a search began that would eventually include the FBI and the television show "The Hunt with John Walsh." The mother was located when authorities received a tip, and she was subsequently arrested and charged with parental kidnapping. The little girl was returned to the care of her father, who is relieved to know that she is safe and sound.

In cases such as this, it is easy to see how tensions can rise and conflict can occur between parents. It is also easy to become frustrated by the court system and the rulings that can result from a child custody dispute. That said, parents in Texas and elsewhere must adhere to the court orders within their case and follow the established procedures for resolving any dispute. Failure to do so can result in serious repercussions, including criminal charges and the risk of losing access to one's child, as shown in this example.

Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel, "Broward mom, accused of kidnapping girl to avoid vaccination, caught and jailed", Paula McMahon, Aug. 4, 2015

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