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Michigan bill aims to affect international child custody cases

The Michigan Senate recently gave unanimous approval to a bill that would make it illegal for a Michigan resident to take his or her child to certain countries while engaged in a child custody dispute. This bill has been sent to the state House of Representatives.

Known as Senate Bill 1000, the legislation looks to prevent a Michigan court from allowing a parent in a child custody dispute to travel with a child to a country that is not subject to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction unless both parents have approved the trip with the appropriate court. Signatories to the treaty are committed to upholding parenting arrangements as they existed before an alleged abduction. A total of 88 nations have signed the treaty.

Advocates of the measure say the legislation would protect a Michigan parent who has no other recourse when the other parent wrongfully removes children to a non-Hague Convention nation. The bill's sponsor says the measure's intent is to address what he calls "the serious problem of international child abduction."

Speaking on behalf of the measure recently, the sponsor said, "While researching this issue, we found multiple cases in the 36th Senate District alone. The most famous of these instances is the heartbreaking tale of an Alpena mother that was chronicled in the book and movie, 'Not Without My Daughter.' Three decades later international child abduction remains a problem."

It's unclear what fate the measure faces now that it is in the Michigan House. In the meantime, Michigan parents who find themselves in such a complex child custody dispute situation should contact an experienced attorney to learn what their options are.

Source: Midland Daily News, "Moolenar child custody bill OK'd by Senate, heading to House," Oct. 28, 2012

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