2 daughters allowed to stay in Arizona in custody battle

A couple’s two daughters are currently the subject of a battle between a mother, now in Mexico, and the father, living in Arizona with the children. The most recent development in the child custody dispute involves a federal appeals court ruling that the children, at least for now, should stay with the father in Arizona. The court rejected the mother’s argument that an international convention addressing the subject of child abduction gave her an unquestionable right to have the children returned to her in Mexico.

Evidence accepted by the trial court showed that the couple had agreed that the children should divide their time between the U.S. and Mexico. Their current status was that they were habitually residents of Arizona, so the international convention did not apply.

The couple’s two daughters, who are twins, were born in Mexico in 2008 when the couple lived there. The father later moved into Arizona for work related purposes, and the couple became estranged in 2010. The mother allegedly then threatened the husband with violence and stopped handing the girls over to him in order for the twins to spend half their time in Arizona as was previously agreed.

Eventually, the children were exchanged, and the father declined to return the girls to Mexico when they were with him in Arizona. Child custody cases such as this one can be tricky, as they frequently involve possible interpretations of the laws of several states or even countries, and even the issue of which court has jurisdiction to decide the case can come into question.

Retaining an experienced family lawyer with experience in multi-jurisdictional child custody cases is an essential first step to making sure that the interests of a parent are adequately represented and that the court has all the facts needed to make the child custody determination in the best interests of the children.

Source: Santa Cruz Valley Sun, “Federal court says daughters can stay in Arizona in U.S.-Mexico custody fight” Jack Fitzpatrick, Nov. 26, 2013

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