We’ve previously discussed the potential consequences of taking the law into one’s own hands in cases of child custody disputes. People who take children who are legally in the custody of another without the guardian’s consent can face various civil and criminal penalties. We’ve also touched on the fact that whether the children consent or not is likely to be irrelevant in such cases, unlike some other forms of kidnapping. One unfortunate mother may soon discover what the Georgia courts have to say about this kind of behavior.
In 2010, a mother from Canada allegedly brought her children from Georgia to her home in Canada during a time period when the kids’ father had been granted full legal custody of them. According to the mother, she did it in an attempt to protect the children as she claims the father was abusive both to her and the kids. She also says the children requested that they come stay with her. However, it appears she never petitioned a Georgia court for a custody change, or even brought the alleged problem to the attention of U.S. or state authorities.
These oversights may have helped cost her the ability to remain in Canada. While she has been fighting extradition to Georgia for six years, a ruling in her home country recently cited the fact that she did not pursue remedies in the U.S. and that there was no evidence that the children were in imminent danger when they were taken abroad in rejecting her request not to be extradited. Further the court found that shortly after the kids arrived in Canada, the mother was arrested for drunk driving with the children in the car and failed to mention her suspicions to the Canadian authorities either.
As can be seen, taking children that are in the legal custody of another without leave of a court can lead to serious consequences in Georgia. There are several possible remedies that this mother might have sought in the state courts in this case rather than putting herself at risk of criminal charges. This might include a modification of the child custody order if it is in the best interests of the children.
Source: cbc.ca, “Quebec mother loses latest attempt to fight extradition on custody charge,” Ainslie MacClellan, Aug. 3, 2016