Child custody disputes are usually complicated and full of emotion for Illinois families. An estranged couple's multi-national child custody battle recently reached a resolution. Just over two years ago, the custody battle took center stage, as the boy's parents brought their clash all the way to the United States Supreme Court.
The boy's family is comprised of a mix of nationalities. His father is from the United Kingdom, his mother is an American citizen and the two were wed in England. After their marriage, the boy was born in Hawaii, so he is a United States citizen. Eventually, the family moved to Chile, but their marriage soon fell apart. Chilean courts determined that the mother would get custody and the father would receive visitation rights when they legally separated.
The boy's mother, frustrated by her inability to find work in Chile due to visa restrictions, took the boy to Texas without his father's knowledge. From there, the boy's father sought custody and threatened to take everything from his estranged wife. The case made it to the U.S. Supreme Court where it was ruled that a lower court's decision to grant only visitation rights to the father was voided under the guise of international law.
Even though the ruling was handed down two years ago, contention existed between the boy's parents until he turned 16 years old, the age at which he was released from the terms of international law. At that point, he made the independent decision to live with his mother. The boy and his mother are relieved that the emotional saga has been resolved.
When parents get involved in litigious custody battles, it is often the children who suffer the most. The boy involved in this dispute is apparently very well-adjusted, despite the stress of the last two years. Sometimes it's easy to forget that determining child custody arrangements should be a way to make sure the child's welfare is protected, rather than an extension of a couple's feud. Divorcing parents should be mindful of the sensitive nature of any child support disagreements they have.
Source: CNN, "Child at center of high court fight over custody gets closure," Bill Mears, Feb. 14, 2012