Parental Abduction

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McFarling Law Group routinely represents clients in cases where one of the parents is accused of having abducted his or her child to or from the state of Nevada by the other parent.

We handle both cases within the United States and cases where the child is kidnapped to or from another country. For cases involving international kidnapping, see our INTERNATIONAL KIDNAPPING practice area.

There are very specific laws that apply when a parent is accused of kidnapping their own child by the other parent as well as very specific procedures for obtaining the return of such a child. Even the standard family law attorney is not necessarily going to be able to assist in the specific situation of a parental kidnapping as expertly as McFarling Law Group due to our specialized experience in this area.

The law allows for specific mechanisms to retrieve an abducted child, such as a pick up order, a custody warrant, and an order for the parent to appear in court with the minor child. Further, if a parent is found to have kidnapped his or her child, there is a presumption that parent should not even have joint physical custody.

McFarling Law Group is particularly skilled in following the exact procedures to quickly retrieve an abducted child, from obtaining a pick up order or custody warrant to working with government officials and law enforcement to actually retrieve the abducted child. We additionally can provide experienced representation in ensuring that the custody and visitation orders provide for protection of the child in the future.

For parents accused of abduction, our knowledge of the kidnapping laws assist us in providing the best possible defense to actions to retrieve the child and actions for custody based upon an allegation of kidnapping.

 

PICK UP ORDERS AND CUSTODY WARRANTS

We have represented numerous clients who had their children kidnapped to Nevada by the other parent and were able to obtain a pick up order or custody warrant, usually within a few hours or few days to allow law enforcement to retrieve the child.

Examples:

Mother living in California with her child sends the child to visit the father in Nevada for Christmas break and he does not return the child. We successfully assisted the mother in filing in Nevada to return the child to her in California. She was able to utilize the court order to retrieve her child from school without law enforcement involvement.

Father was living in California with his wife and infant. The wife took the infant and disappeared to Nevada. We successfully assisted the father in filing in Nevada and retrieving his child with a court order and assistance of law enforcement.

Father living in Oregon obtained a custody order because Mom was neglecting the children. Father sent the children for visitation during summer break. Mom alleged one child was being molested and did not return the children on the scheduled flight. We obtained a custody warrant within hours and coordinated for police to enter the home against the Mom’s objection and retrieve the children.

We have been hired by government entitles in other states to obtain pick up orders and custody warrants in Nevada and assist in the retrieval of children in Nevada.

For example: California County District Attorney hired use to take a California custody warrant and register it in Nevada and assist in ensuring that the order was promptly in the hands of the DA investigator who came to Nevada to assist Nevada law enforcement in retrieving the child and then take the child back to California.

Published Opinions:

 

Druckman v. Ruscitti, 327 P.3d 511 (2014).

In this case, the trial judge granted our client permission to relocate to California with her child after she had left Nevada with the child without the father’s permission. The father claimed that the mother had abducted the child and should not have gotten custody as a result. On appeal, our client was able to retain custody in California based on the child’s best interests.  

Ogawa v. Ogawa, 125 Nev. 660 (2009).

 

In this case our client relocated from Nevada to Japan with the minor children without the mother’s permission. The mother filed a divorce and custody action in Nevada after the children had been in Japan for eight months. The district court took jurisdiction and ordered the client to return with the children—citing the Hague Convention to which Japan was not a signatory. The client refused to return the children and did not appear for trial, although he was represented by counsel at the trial. The trial judge awarded custody and all the community property to the mother at trial as a sanction for the father not appearing.

I appealed to the Nevada Supreme Court. In a published opinion, the Nevada Supreme Court en banc held it was improper to default a litigant when he had an attorney appear on his behalf, and even in the event of a default, the Judge should have divided community property pursuant to the law, which would be equally. The Nevada Supreme Court also held in situations where a party may have misled the other party as to their intentions when leaving a State, the time period for jurisdiction begins when the party becomes aware the other party has actually relocated and does not intend to return.

We represented the client also on remand where the court relinquished child custody jurisdiction and made orders based upon all of the evidence and re-divided the community property equally. My client is still in Japan with his children.

Unpublished Appeal Decisions:

Adamska- District Court, Nevada Supreme Court Case No. 67328, & U.S. Supreme Court Case No. 16-797:

In this case, our client unilaterally removed her two children to Poland without the father’s knowledge. The father filed for divorce and custody in Nevada. After two years of litigation, the Nevada District Court ultimately dismissed the custody case, deferring jurisdiction to Poland and issued a status divorce. On appeal, the Nevada Supreme Court affirmed the District Court. The father then appealed to the United States Supreme Court where they declined to review the case. Our client remains living in Poland with her children with custody decisions able to be made by the Polish court.

Merchan- U.S. District Court and 9th Circuit Case No. 14-16045:

In this case, I represented a Father, a Colombian national, whose child was detained by the mother in the U.S. contrary to a valid Colombian Custody order. Even though the child expressed a desire to remain in the United States with her mother, my client prevailed in U.S. District Court as the child’s wishes alone were insufficient to overcome the father’s valid foreign custody order. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the Federal District Court’s decision after oral argument and briefing. Even though we had won in trial court and on appeal, the mother was defying the court order and hiding the child. My office assisted law enforcement in retrieving the child from school, obtaining overnight secure housing for her and delivering her to her father at the airport. My client currently has his daughter back home with him in Colombia.

Kashuba- Nevada Supreme Court Case No. 69829:

In this case, I represented a mother on appeal of a district court order granting the father primary custody despite there being prior evidence of domestic violence by him. The court had excluded certain evidence at trial based on it having occurred prior to the most recent custodial order.  I appealed. The Appellate Court reversed the decision and remanded with the district court to conduct a new trial and allow in the previously excluded evidence. In addition to the appeal, we represented the mother in the second trial where she presented the previously excluded evidence and obtained primary physical custody. Our client now has custody of her son in Canada.

Hughes- Nevada Supreme Court Case No. 66436:

In this case, the trial judge had allowed our client to have custody of her children in another state after she had left Nevada without the father’s permission. On appeal, the father argued that the trial judge should have considered a domestic violence incident where our client has done a submittal, which is not admissible into evidence and that she should have not obtained custody after removing the children from Nevada without his consent. The Nevada Supreme Court upheld the district court’s decision. My client still lives out of state with her children in her custody.

Smith, Nevada Supreme Court Case No. 66983:

In this case, a father had been awarded custody due to the mother kidnapping the child. Eventually, the district court ordered the Mother to have no contact with her daughter because the daughter expressed a desire to not see her Mother. We appealed. The Nevada Supreme Court found it improper to issue such an order as it was tantamount to terminating Mother’s parental rights without due process or cause.  

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