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Texas father fights to bring child back to U.S.

Child custody battles are difficult enough when the parents both live in the same state, but when one parent decides to take a child to another country to avoid custody issues, the consequences can be tragic. One Texas father is now finding out how difficult international custody cases are.

A Texas couple welcomed a baby boy to the world three years ago, but the parents spent the next several months engaged in a child custody battle over the infant. While the proceedings were still going on, the mother took the baby and fled to Poland. The father wound up losing precious time with his baby, although he continued to fight for custody in Texas courts.

A Texas judge eventually awarded the man custody of the child, but the mother moved to France and became a naturalized citizen. She then brought the baby to France, so the little boy was automatically given citizenship as well. The French courts refuse to uphold the Texas court's order, so the mother and child still live in France.

The father is appealing the French court's ruling, and the now 3-year-old boy is in custody of child protective services while the litigation is going on. The father visits his son in France whenever possible, and he has made 30 trips to the country to see his son since this all began in 2011. The father is planning another trip in June to spend time with his son.

With international travel becoming more and more common, it is also increasingly common for parents to move to another country with their children to avoid child custody issues. Parents who are engaged in child custody negotiations should speak with an attorney about establishing an enforceable plan that will protect the child's best interests now and in the future.

Source: ABC 13 Eyewitness News, "West U dad caught in international child custody dispute," Sonia Azad, May 21, 2014

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