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Florida case highlights issues of paternity, custodial interference for unmarried couples, P.1

Child custody disputes, as readers are aware, can be particularly contentious and couples who split up can end up need to be prepared to advocate for their rights and the best interests of their child. The possibility of disputes arise does not end after a parenting plan is established, either, but continues until the children become adults.

A recent story here in Florida is a reminder of one kind of dispute that can arise with respect to child custody. The father of a 3-year-old girl was arrested by Boynton Beach last week after the girl’s mother called police out of fear that he had kidnapped her. He is now facing a charge of interference with custody, for which he could face up to five years in prison. 

Earlier this year, the mother had reportedly signed paperwork allowing the father to take the daughter from Venezuela to the United States in June, and she joined them in July. The couple of seven years, who were not married, broke up in September and the mother took custody of the child, but without filing a formal custody plan with a court.

According to the father, the incident is a misunderstanding and an overreaction. He simply wanted to spend time with his daughter. From the mother’s perspective, he did not show up to a family gathering as planned and did not return her calls. From law enforcement’s perspective, they had to take the available evidence seriously. It remains to be seen how the case will be resolved, but the father plans to challenge a court order that he stay away from his daughter.

Custodial interference is, of course, a serious allegation. In our next couple posts, we’ll take a closer look at this issue, as well as the issue of establishing paternity for children born out of wedlock.  

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