Grandparents v. mother custody dispute stretches across borders

On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C. posted in Child Custody on Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A couple that took the law into their own hands faces serious legal charges in a child custody dispute that ranges all the way from Florida to a Walmart parking lot in Canada.

The case involves a set of American grandparents who took their two grandchildren from Florida and fled nearly 2,000 miles to Estevan, a Canadian town just 20 miles past the border with North Dakota. There they camped out for a couple of weeks in a Walmart parking lot before the grandparents were arrested and held for a deportation hearing.

If they’re deported to Florida, they’ll face charges of concealing minors contrary to a court order.

The grandparents, both in their 60s, had custody of the kids for the past five years while the children’s mother was “in and out of jail,” according to a report in the Calgary Herald.

However, a family law judge recently ruled that the 33-year-old mother in Panama City, Fla., was to get custody of her 12-year-old daughter and nine-year-old son.

The grandparents were ordered by the judge to turn the children over to the mother on May 20. When that didn’t happen, the mother filed a complaint with police in Florida.

A sheriff’s department spokesperson told the newspaper that law enforcement officials had information that the grandparents would head to Canada with the children.

The grandparents and kids had been in a camper in the store parking lot since May 21, officials said.

The grandparents also face charges in Canada after allegedly threatening authorities there regarding the custody of the children.

Source: Calgary Herald: “Missing Florida children found with grandparents at Saskatchewan Walmart” by Barb Pacholik: June 3, 2011