Jump to Navigation
Lengthy international child custody battle ends for boy in Texas

Monday, May 21, 2018

A Texas divorce can be a long and complicated process. Having clear communication between the parties is often essential to negotiating a property division settlement, a child support agreement, as well as a child custody arrangement. With these issues in mind, readers in the El Paso area will be interested to hear of an acrimonious separation that led to a lengthy custody battle that spanned almost ten years and at least two countries.

A British and American citizen married and had a son together in 1995. They later moved to Chile but separated in 2003. The resulting child custody agreement gave primary custody to the mother but allowed visitation rights for the father, and a Chilean court prevented either party from moving out of the country with the child without the consent of both parties. In violation of that child custody order, the mother returned to the United States with the boy, claiming that because of issues with her visa, she was unable to find housing or work in Chile that would allow her to support her son.

A private detective eventually located both the mother and son living in Texas. The detective asked a federal court to order that the boy be returned to Chile under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Initially, the lower federal court disagreed, ruling that actual physical custody of the child was required in order to be entitled to that relief. The U.S. Supreme Court eventually overturned this ruling, declaring it was not the intention of the Hague Convention to protect anyone accused of breaking the law.

The boy recently turned 16. Since the Hague Convention provisions apply only to children under the age of 16, the child custody case was dismissed by a federal judge. According to the mother, the boy has no wishes to see his father in the foreseeable future. Although the woman apparently violated the Chilean law when she left that country, the proceedings have been brought to a close in Texas. However, the case underscores the complexity of international child custody disputes, as well as the need to become fully informed of the relevant law and procedure both in jurisdictions like Texas and in the other countries involved.

Source: CNN, "Child at center of high court fight over custody gets closure," Bill Mears, Feb. 14, 2012

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
FindLaw Network

We Can Help You, Contact Us Today! Saturday Morning Appointments Available

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Our Office Location

Law Office of Douglas C. Smith
10514 Montwood Drive
El Paso, TX 79935

El Paso Law Office Map

Review Us