Christmas time is looked at by most as a time to spend with family and friends. Families typically get together to shop, decorate the tree, watch holiday movies and exchange gifts. Of course, all of that is different for families embroiled in child custody cases, such as the one centered on an Illinois 6-year-old named Jack.
Jack's parents met while the mother was in Ireland. She was attending community college there and met the father, who is Irish. The two of them, who never married, lived together for around a decade. While living together, the mother become pregnant with Jack. Shortly after Jack's birth, however, the couple broke up. The mother took the then eight-month-old baby to Orland Park, Illinois, a village located primarily in Cook County. That was in November 2007.
The court battle has raged ever since. In February 2011, joint custody was granted to both parents by an Irish court. The mother took Jack to the U.S., agreeing to return him to Ireland after a preset period of time. She did not do so.
Jack's father said this meant she had broken international abduction laws. Because she failed to return to Ireland, the Irish court held her in contempt. Meanwhile, U.S. courts were also addressing the case.
In June 2012, one U.S. judge ordered that the boy had to be returned to Ireland to be with his father. An appellate court reversed that decision in July, sending the case back to the first judge. He then concurred with the appellate court's decision and decreed that Jack would live with his mother.
Custody cases in Illinois are typically the most contentious aspects of a divorce or separation. A man and woman who end their relationship with each other typically still want a relationship with their children. Both fathers and mothers can benefit tremendously by getting attorneys with a strong background in family law and exploring all of the possibilities.
Source: Southtown Star, "Mother hopes for Christmas reunion with son caught in custody battle" Mike Nolan and Donna Vickroy, Dec. 13, 2013