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Long-running child custody battle takes criminal turn

Colorado residents may be aware of a West Coast child custody case that is making headlines across the nation. The case has been in and out of the courts for nearly a decade, as two parents struggle over issues concerning custody issues and the visitation schedule of the father. This story, while unlike a great majority of custody cases, demonstrates how easily a child custody case can become incredibly complex.

The mother of a now 14-year-old boy is currently facing criminal accusations of kidnapping and depriving the boy's father of his custody rights. The case began back in 2003, when the mother asked for and received a court order allowing her to move to Mexico with her son. She and her new husband relocated and opened a business in Mexico, while boy's father retained visitation rights.

Although aware that his ex-wife and son were established in another country, the father served custody paperwork to the mother at the home of one of her relatives in this country. The details of that order are the base of the current charges against her.

The family returned to the United States in 2009, and in 2010 police removed the boy from his school and placed him in emergency custody of his father. The mother got her son back almost two weeks later and is fighting the legality of his removal. In addition, her attorney is arguing that she was never properly served with the court paperwork that led to the current charges.

This case shows the intricacies that can factor into a child custody case. In addition, the criminal charges that this mother is now fighting demonstrate the serious nature of child custody battles and the resulting court orders. She is reportedly in court on a monthly basis to deal with these issues, and will likely continue to do so as she moves forward. For Colorado residents, this case highlights the importance of gaining full knowledge of one's rights under the law before approaching the court in matters involving child custody.

Source: Monterey Herald, "Supporters rally around mother in long-running Monterey County child custody case," Claudia Melendez Salinas, Sept. 29, 2012

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