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Man to pay ex-wife $40,000 in fees for child custody battle

Although judges make child custody decisions based on the best interests of the child, it's impossible to make everyone happy. Child custody issues can intensify when one parent moves out of the country, and the child sees one parent only a few times a year. This is the case for a former Pennsylvania couple who divorced and have battled over child custody. The battle has cost the woman nearly $40,000 in attorney fees, which a judge recently ordered her ex-husband to pay.

The woman had spent the money on regaining custody of her child after the man got a court order to keep the child in his custody. She was able to receive the money after a judge found that the woman was entitled to the money based on the lawsuit she filed under the International Child Abduction Remedies Act.

The couple divorced in 2007, with the man moving to Texas and the woman to Venezuela. The mother was awarded custody, and the father was allowed visitation during winter and summer vacations.

In 2011, however, the father was unable to bring the child back to Venezuela after summer break. The mother was unable to get a visa to travel to the United States on such short notice, so the child stayed with the father. The father got the court order and used it so that the mother could not take the child when she came to the U.S. in November 2011. The mother filed a lawsuit, and the father agreed to return the child back to the mother.

Child custody can be a contentious issue, especially when relocation is involved. A custody dispute can be both emotionally and financially draining. However, it's important to have both parents involved in the child's life, if at all possible.

Source: Courthouse News Service, "Fee Award Upheld After Deal on Child's Custody" Kevin Lessmiller, May. 05, 2014

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