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Child Custody Disputes Can Lead to Kidnapping


One of the saddest and most frustrating things about divorce is the fact that many parents use their minor children as weapons against each other. Divorce lawyers say that more often than not, epic battles waged in divorce court over child custody and child visitation have nothing at all to do with the children.

A recent article from the Gatehouse News Service highlighted the aspects of child custody disputes during divorce and the legal ramifications of a parent fleeing with a child who is being fought over.

High Profile Custody Kidnapping

Custody kidnappings have been recently discussed in the news relating to the story of a 7-year-old British girl, Reigh "Snooks" Storrow Mills Boss, who was kidnapped in Boston by her wealthy father, Clark Rockefeller. Rockefeller allegedly kidnapped his daughter during his first supervised visitation after losing joint custody.

An Amber Alert was immediately issued, while police and the FBI conducted a manhunt for Rockefeller. Initially it was believed that Rockefeller kidnapped his daughter on the spur of the moment, out of frustration of losing joint custody. It was later discovered that the kidnapping was part of an elaborate plan that had been concocted over a period of several months.

During the search and investigation of the kidnapping, police discovered that Rockefeller goes by the aliases J.P. Clark Rockefeller, James Frederick, Clark Mill Rockefeller and Michael Brown. His real name is still somewhat of a mystery. Investigators located records listing his date of birth as Feb. 29, 1960, but he doesn't appear to have a valid Social Security number.

Investigators believed that Rockefeller was planning to head to the Caribbean with his daughter on a yacht that he recently purchased. There was concern about where he and the child might be located because retrieving a kidnapped child depends on whether or not the countries involved have signed the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

This treaty was designed to facilitate the quick return of children involved in international kidnappings; however, it never came into play because Rockefeller was captured and arrested by the FBI in Maryland. His daughter was safe and unharmed and has been returned to her mother, Sandra Boss.

Parental Kidnapping Cases are Rare

While parental kidnapping can be a frightening thing for a custodial parent, legal experts say cases like the kidnapping of Reigh "Snooks" Storrow Mills Boss are extremely rare.

The cases of parental kidnapping that do occur are generally in situations involving international custody cases that tend to involve parents of different religious backgrounds or nationalities. There are also usually allegations of domestic abuse in most parental kidnapping cases.

Some parents involved in custody disputes and frustrating child visitation arrangements may verbally threaten to not return a child to the custodial parent; however, legal experts say that these threats are generally just a product of anger in the heat of the moment. While the threat alone may cause worry, such threats are almost never carried out.

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