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Can an ex-spouse be criminally charged for taking their child to a foreign country and not returning them to the U.S.?

Answer:  Yes, they can.  FBI agents this week arrested the parents of an ex-wife because they assisted in taking their grandchild from Texas to Brasil (supposedly for a wedding in Brasil) with the intent of keeping the child in Brasil.  The young child has not been brought back.  This is contrary to the ex-spouses' legal agreement, which says that the child shall be raised in the U.S.  

This happens all too often - an ex-spouse takes the child out of the U.S. with the intent of raising the child in the foreigh country.  Usually, the other parent in the U.S. can do little to get their child back.

But here, the grandparents of the abducted child - who flew to Miami (believing nothing would happen to them), were arrested and charged by federal prosecutors with international parental kidnapping and conspiracy - for helping their daughter whisk their grandchild out of the U.S. to their native Brasil.  They are in jail and face up to five years in prison.

Lesson Learned: Up until now, federal prosecutors didn't get involved in what they viewed as international custody fights.  This arrest is a warning to all those parents and relatives who believe that nothing will happen to them if they take their own child away to foreign countries and don't return them, in defiance of American divorce and custody agreements.      

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