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Helton Law Firm, PLLC

Man agrees to return son from India in custody dispute

A man was taken into custody on Feb. 3 on charges related to an international custody dispute. He and his wife are both permanent U.S. residents from India who live in Tennessee. Their 2 1/2 year old son is an American citizen.

The couple married in 2008. In 2015, they left their son to stay with the man's parents in India with the intention of working on the problems in their marriage. However, their relationship worsened, and the woman returned to India in 2016 to retrieve her son. The child's grandparents would not allow her to take him although she filed a number of legal complaints. She then returned to Tennessee and filed a lawsuit there.

The man's attorneys appealed a court ruling that the child should be returned to his mother. They said that the case should fall under the jurisdiction of Indian courts, but the appeals court did not agree. India is not a signatory to the Hague Convention that obligates countries to work together on international child custody disputes.

On Feb. 6, the man agreed to facilitate the return of his son. He may not face criminal charges if the boy is returned although attorneys would not comment on this.

Parents who are considering divorce and who are concerned about an international child abduction might want to discuss this with an attorney. There are steps that can be taken to help ensure that it is more difficult to take a child out of the country. Parents might also want to write specific rules into the parenting agreement that deal with things such as vacations and taking the child to another country to visit family there.

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