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Father loses child custody rights after leaving town

When parents are unable to see eye to eye concerning the care and custody of their shared child, things can quickly get out of hand. Child custody is an emotional state of affairs, and parents in Alabama and across the nation struggle to come to terms with having to share time with a former spouse or partner. It is easy to make child custody decisions that are based on emotion rather than reason, but doing so can have long-term detrimental effects to a parent's child custody rights.

An example is found in a West Coast case that has made headlines across the nation. With the consent of the child's mother, a father took his seven-year-old daughter for an out-of-state trip. When the time came to return the child, the father decided that he wanted to keep the girl in his care. At the time, there was no child custody agreement in place between the parents.

However, upon hearing that her daughter's father would not be returning the child to her care, the mother immediately took legal action. The father was notified but did not appear, which resulted in the mother being granted legal custody of the girl. Once that step had been completed, the mother was able to approach law enforcement to ask for assistance in returning her daughter to her care, and a felony warrant for child abduction was issued. Officers were able to locate the father and daughter, and they noted that the child was safe and seem to be thriving in his care. Even so, law enforcement removed the child from her father's care and returned her to her mother.

While the full details concerning this case have not been made public, it appears that a child custody dispute escalated into a criminal event and a resulting felony arrest. Had this father taken a different approach to having custody rights to his daughter, the outcome would likely have been far different. Instead, he now faces a serious felony charge, and his ability to secure time with his daughter may have been permanently impaired. For Alabama parents who are going through their own child custody struggles, this case serves as a cautionary warning about letting emotion overrule reason.

Source:, "West coast search ends in Texoma", Samantha Forester, July 22, 2016

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