Child custody proceedings are often referred to as “battles” when they are really just disagreements between two parties. Unfortunately, there are extreme cases when child custody proceedings and their outcomes lead to situations that actually warrant the involvement of law enforcement authorities, and sometimes, even international governments. It is this sort of extreme child custody case that kept Florida authorities busy in early April.
Two young boys, ages two and four, had gone to live with their grandparents in Tampa, Florida after a judge revoked both their mother´s and their father´s parental rights in early April. The parents had a history that included exposing the children to dangerous situations in which drugs and weapons were present and that had resulted in the children being placed into foster care. The parents were also known for not accepting the court´s child custody decisions and demanding to see their children.
This time, the court´s decision to award child custody to the grandparents led the boys´ father to kidnap them, drive them to the Florida coast and then sail for Cuba with them and the mother. They were found docked in a Havana marina from where, thanks to the cooperation of Cuban authorities, the parents were brought into custody and the boys were returned safely to their grandparents. The parents are currently being held in the Hillsborough County jail near Tampa, Florida.
Although this experience was harrowing for the children, it did, thankfully, end well. Understandably, child custody cases can be difficult for both the children and the adults involved. Nevertheless, courts strive to determine what placement is truly in the best interests of the children. Had the boys´ grandparents not pursued custody, the boys would now be in a foster home instead of their family´s Florida home.