Janet L. Goehle, Attorney at Law
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Child custody dispute leads to international incident

Divorced or separated, parents accept it as a reality. When the couple splits, they must make efforts to allow the other spouse parenting time. This reality is not a big deal when both parents live in the Twin Cities. But, when parents are separated by state lines or international borders, visitation can quickly become quite tricky.

News of an extreme case filtered up from Brazil early last week. A Massachusetts mother had obtained full child custody over her child but had taken her to Brazil to see her father. But, the father failed to visit with the child. Instead of heading back to the states, however, a Brazilian judge reportedly took the mother and daughter's passports until the visitation had occurred.

Now, the two seem to be stranded in South America until their passports are returned. U.S. officials are reportedly stepping in to help bring the girls home.

While this tale seems extraordinary, it does highlight how difficult custody arrangements can be, especially when the parents become separated by a great distance. The logistics are only the start of the potential problems. Different courts may claim jurisdiction over the matter and threaten to undo parenting plans from other courts.

Parents involved with a difficult or complex family law issue like this are encouraged to contact a local St. Paul attorney for help. These professionals have decades of experience helping parents and grandparents secure time with their child. They have seen it all and know how to make the law work for you.

Source: St. Cloud Times, "Custody case strands Mass. Mom, child in Brazil," July 5, 2013

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