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Texas father fights for custody of child in England

A Plano dad is dealing with an ongoing fight with his ex-fiancee in the country of England over the custody of his daughter, who is now 4 years old. He hasn't seen his daughter since she was a toddler.

The father and his ex-fiancee met early in 2008 on a cruise. She told him three months later that she was pregnant. The little girl was born in November. The next year, the fiancee took a planned family trip to England to visit her parents. However, she and the girl never returned from England. Instead, the girl's father received an email stating that they were not coming back. She then went on to tell him that, if he wanted to see the girl, it would have to be on Skype. The father claims that the mother was planning to leave the country before the girl was even born.

On Aug. 19, a Collin County judge heard the case and signed an order for the child to be returned to Texas. The ex-fiancee did not show up with the girl as ordered, and the father was awarded sole custody; however, English courts do not recognize rulings from Texas courts. The U.S. Department of State is offering to provide assistance to the father, according to their representative.

Child custody disputes between England and the United States come under the jurisdiction of the Hague Convention, an international treaty that involves international adoption and child custody matters. The Abduction Convention states that child custody disputes should be heard in the country of the child's "habitual residence." The issue being disputed is the child's country of residence. If it is England, the child custody case would be heard there; but if it is Texas, the Colin County court would have jurisdiction.

Source: Travel.State.Gov, "Possible Solutions - Using the Hague Abduction Convention"

Source: CBS DFW, "North Texas Father Vs. Mother & The United States Vs. England", Ginger Allen, November 01, 2013

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