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Mother fleeing with children apprehended in Washington

Spokane residents will agree that living in a happy and prosperous home with both parents is often an ideal environment for a child's upbringing. However, due to any number of reasons, this scenario may not be possible. In such situations, child custody disputes can arise between parents, and sometimes desperate parents take actions that put them at odds with the law.

Recently, a mother in the southwestern United States removed her two children to another state in defiance of court orders, which required the children to be present for a week's worth of visitation with their father. She and the children took shelter at a relative's home in Colville, Washington. The mother was eventually charged with child concealment or removal, extradited from Washington State and jailed with $25,000 bail. The mother did not return the children to their father's custody for a preset visit, and when she did not show up for a court hearing addressing custody the court awarded primary child custody to the father.

News reports about custody-related child abductions like this often receive coverage on television, radio and in newspapers. And it is important for parents with custody arrangements to understand that failure to follow child custody orders will have legal consequences, as is the situation here. However, that is not to say that they have no legal options whatsoever; far from it. Parents may seek modification of parenting plans or child custody arrangements through the court system for a number of reasons. Sometimes family needs change as young children grow older; sometimes a move or a job can require modifications to the plan. In extreme situations, a modification can remove and protect children from a parent who had become abusive or suffers from drug or alcohol problems.

Child custody is a very sensitive area of family law and should be handled with the utmost care. An experienced family law attorney may be engaged so that any child custody dispute is resolved favorably with the best interests of the child in mind.

Source: The Record-Courier, "Mother in custody for absconding with children," Sheila Gardner, Jan. 24, 2014

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