November 15, 2013

After mother abducts children, police give father the runaround

In divorce, it is often necessary to make difficult compromises. When these compromises happen in the area of child custody and a parent feels the court has not considered their child’s best interests, it can be tempting to take matters into one’s own hands. However, interference with child custody or visitation can result in charges of contempt of court or even child abduction. One Detroit-area woman may be about to learn this the hard way.

This 33-year-old woman failed to return her two children to her ex-husband, who is the custodial parent, this past August. Since one parent lives in Farmington Hills and the other in Westland, the father tried to file police reports on Aug. 23 with both precincts to cover all his bases. However, since the divorce itself was filed in Livingston County, neither police department would take a report.

This apparently caused continued confusion and delays in action, which worked to the woman’s advantage on Sept. 19 as she tried to cross the border from New York to Canada. The Oakland County prosecutor’s office reportedly told the border patrol to simply check up on the children’s welfare, and then release them back to the mother. Only in October did the Livingston County prosecutor’s office finally get involved, authorizing a warrant for her arrest. Eventually the Federal Bureau of Investigations was engaged in the search. She is reported to have been seen with her children near Saranac Lake in New York, but are still missing at present.

While it is impossible to know what motivated this mother to allegedly abduct her children from their custodial parent, one thing is certain: It is never in the children’s best interest to parent them from behind bars. If the woman was unsatisfied with the custody arrangements or felt that the court had not taken her concerns about the father’s parental fitness seriously, a consultation with her divorce attorney would have been a far more prudent and productive approach. Her legal team may have helped her to file an appeal or amendment to the existing custody and visitation terms.

Source: Detroit Free Press, “Police seek tips to find divorced mom who took her children” Lisa Roose-Church, Nov. 08, 2013