Georgia readers are likely aware of recent news of the arrest of two parents in connection to a child custody case. The parents are now jailed, and facing serious criminal charges after they attempted to flee the country with their two young children. This case not only demonstrates the lengths to which parents will go to maintain a connection to their children, it also serves as a warning of the risks of trying to circumvent the existing child custody laws within one’s state of residence.
The family’s saga can be traced back to the father’s arrest last year on charges of drug possession. After that point, he lost custody of the children. He then tried to abduct the children from a foster family at gunpoint. As a result of those actions, warrants were issued against him for interference with child custody, kidnapping, child neglect and false imprisonment, among other charges.
A recent hearing granted the children’s maternal grandparents permanent custody of the boys, now 4 and 2-years-old. A week later, their father came to their home, tied up the grandmother and took the children. He and his wife then fled by sea to Cuba in a sailboat that the father recently purchased. Cuban officials alerted U.S. authorities that the family was on Cuban soil, and assisted in their capture and departure from the country.
The children have been returned to their grandparents. The parents are now housed in jail awaiting their first court appearance. They are charged with kidnapping, interference with custody and child neglect. Any parent, in Georgia or elsewhere, can understand the anger and frustration at having one’s children removed from their care. However, there are legal procedures that must be followed in order to regain custody of one’s children. By going outside of those legal avenues, this couple may have eliminated any chance of spending time with their kids in the future, and may face significant prison time.
Source: foxnews.com, “Florida couple accused of kidnapping kids, fleeing to Cuba booked into jail,” April 10, 2013