The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office has filed charges against a Slovakian woman, a legal U.S. resident, for two counts of child detention with right to custody. The 32-year-old woman is accused of having abducted her two children from two different fathers and keeping them abroad in Europe for more than 18 months.
The mother, who 18 months ago shared child custody with the two fathers, had been given permission by a court to take her two children to the Czech Republic and Slovakia in June 2012; the mother allegedly never returned with her sons. Both fathers filed complaints and, in light of the abductions, were each awarded full custody of their sons by a local court.
The mother is said to have enrolled her sons, now ages 10 and four, in a French school under different names. During their time abroad, the boys also underwent a change in appearance, which included growing their hair long. Officials claim that the mother took her sons to various countries, eventually settling in Divonne les Bains, France in Feb. 2013.
On Dec. 19, the woman was arrested in France in connection with an international arrest warrant that involved the FBI and Interpol. On Dec. 26, a French court heard the case and ordered the children to be returned to their respective fathers. The fathers arrived back at LAX with their sons on Dec. 28, and the D.A.’s office is reportedly seeking to extradite the woman in connection with the criminal charges.
If a parent in a custody proceeding believes that the other parent is at risk of fleeing with the children or otherwise violating a custody arrangement, that parent may request additional safeguards. A family law attorney may help a parent formulate an argument to the court explaining why a judge should grant the request.
Source: Los Angeles Daily News, “Abducted children return to Los Angeles with their fathers“, Brenda Gazzar, December 28, 2013