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Missing child recovered in southern Minnesota

A missing Belle Plaine child has been recovered by authorities in Owatonna. According to reports, the Scott County Sheriff's office provided local police with a tip about a vehicle suspected of carrying an abducted child. The tip led to efforts by the Minnesota state patrol, the Owatonna police and the Steele County Sheriff's office to locate the vehicle.

The suspected vehicle was promptly located with the child in tow. Police apprehended the 29-year-old female driver and released the child to the custody of Scott County. While reports did not specify as much, abductions like this are often linked to a disputed child custody arrangement.

When parents divorce, they must come up with a parenting agreement that lays out custody and their respective time with the child. If such an agreement is not agreed upon or established, there may be ambiguities about the parent's rights. As a result, it is not uncommon for a parent to violate the law and abduct their own child.

The criminal penalties associated with such an action are justifiably harsh. Avoiding such a scenario, then, must be of paramount importance. When a couple splits, they must take the time to outline a parenting plan. Local St. Paul family law attorneys have helped hundreds of parents negotiate these types of agreements and ensure that they are abided by.

Anytime a couple splits, it is vital to articulate everything from asset allocation to parenting time. If the couple takes the time to work out these arrangements, they can set themselves up for a positive post-divorce relationship and avoid contentious disputes that could lead to criminal liability.

Source: Owatonna People's Press, "Missing Belle Plaine child rescued in Owatonna," Al Strain, March 11, 2014

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