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International child kidnapping case brings civil lawsuit

Most child custody cases aren't as complicated as this one. A man has been convicted of international parental kidnapping as well as conspiracy for helping a woman and her teenage daughter cross the border from New York into Canada, near Buffalo, back in 2009.

The woman's former partner has filed a civil lawsuit, saying that she left the country in an attempt to prevent sharing custody of the girl. The two had a civil union before same-sex marriage was legalized in the state where they lived. The woman who left the country is the child's biological mother. The girl was conceived via artificial insemination.

When the couple broke up, the child's biological mother took her to Virginia and had primary custody of her. Her former partner was given visitation rights. She reportedly defied court orders granting those rights. When she believed that her former partner was going to be granted custody, that's when she reportedly began making plans to take her daughter out of the country.

Among those named in the civil lawsuit is a law firm that helped the woman who fled with her child as she battled to keep her. The head of the law firm, however, says that neither he nor anyone in his firm knew that their client was planning to leave the country.

Obviously, child custody cases can be fraught with emotions. Too often, people make decisions based on those emotions, including fear, in order to keep their children. However, it's essential that parents in these situations follow the guidance of an experienced family law attorney.

Source: U.S. News & World Report, "Lawsuit in Long-Running Same-Sex Custody Case to Proceed," Wilson Ring, AP, March 21, 2017

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