Posted on behalf of Jeffrey N. Greenblatt of Joseph, Greenwald & Laake, PA
Maryland child custody issues can be complicated, especially when parents are unable to reach an agreement on what is best for their children. Because nothing really hits closer to a parent’s heart than decisions relating to their children, it is not surprising that child custody battles are among the most intensely fought legal conflicts any client will ever face. In some extreme cases, parents are even driven to bend or break the law to keep another parent from exercising their legal right to child custody.
While good legal counsel will never instruct a parent to break the law or disobey a court order, some parents either take matters into their own hands or disregard their attorney’s advice. In some cases, parents may get caught up in the emotion and drama and make the rash decision flee the state, or even the country, with their children. Not only does this violate the rights of the other parent and potentially jeopardize the fleeing parent’s rights to future child custody, but it could be grounds for serious criminal charges as well. At the very least, fleeing the state constitutes interference with the other parent’s custody, but it could give rise to more serious felonies, up to and including kidnapping.
A parent who is faced with the scary situation of another person fleeing with their children has every right to be confused, and their first call should always be to an experienced Maryland family law attorney. Fortunately, every U.S. state follows the UCCJEA, or Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, which gives the court of the home state jurisdiction over the case no matter where the other parent flees. This means that the visitation rights in place in Maryland will remain in place in every state, and the other parent cannot successfully obtain a modification or termination of the existing child custody arrangement.
These issues are always very highly sensitive, and nothing should be left to chance in these volatile situations. People in these cases need the help of an experienced family law attorney to help with interstate and even international child custody enforcement cases.