International Child Custody and Divorce Cases

December 21, 2009

By Thomas Moore, Family Law Office Manager

Globalization is definitely alive–including international child custody battles and divorce cases. Recently, ABC’s 20/20 news show featured several stories of fathers attempting to regain custody of their children from their mothers in Italy and Brazil.

I’m not a lawyer and I can’t vouch for the justice, or lack thereof, in any country’s legal system. But I have seen myself the struggles parents go through when one of them, in the course of their divorce, wants to take their children to a foreign country. I think these features do accurately portray the anguish a parent, and a child, can go through during a divorce and international child custody struggle.

An Unresolved International Custody Battle

One story on 20/20 features Michael McCarthy and his son Liam. Liam is still hidden somewhere overseas. All too often in divorce and child custody cases, similar to this one, we see false accusations and the emotional poisoning of children by one parent against the other.

An International Child Custody Battle With a Happy Ending

A second story on 20/20 recounts Brandon Henry’s struggle to gain custody of his son Pietro. Mr. Henry’s struggle is an example of the advocacy, persistence, and collaboration such a parent must go through. Mr. Henry’s struggle to regain his son involved the help of his family, the police in two countries, an attorney, and a convent of nuns in Florence, Italy. This story has ended happily.


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