Wednesday, July 10, 2013

When can we come home? International custody issues.

Shauna Hadden from Agawam, Massachusetts divorced her husband, Donizete Machado in 2009. Hadden has full custody of their 6 year old daughter, Ava. Machado moved to Brazil where he is from. On May 21, 2013, Hadden took Ava to Brazil to visit her father and extended family.

While in Brazil, Machado who purchased the tickets, then cancelled the return flight. The police came to Hadden’s door with guns demanding her and Ava’s passport which she gave. Machado filed paperwork in Brazil for custody of Ava. A Judge denied Machado’s request for immediate custody and for someone to bring Ava to him, but granted supervised visitation with Ava. According to Hadden, Machedo has not exercised any visitation. He had until July 5 to exercise visitation under the court order.

In the meantime, Hadden and Ava have been effectively "trapped" in Brazil, unable to leave without resolution of the pending case. Her visa will expire at the end of summer.

International custody issues seem to be more common lately. Even with custody orders, issues can arise. Before taking a child or allowing a child to go to a different country, consider having orders for each particular trip with a remedy if the child is not returned.

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