Missouri mother living in Costa Rica accused of international kidnapping

By February 24, 2011Child Custody

On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C. posted in Child Custody on Thursday, February 24, 2011

A mother from Springfield, Missouri, is the subject of national attention this week as she struggles to maintain custody of her young daughter. The mother took her child to Costa Rica in 2009 after accusing the girl’s father of domestic abuse. The woman has since testified that she feared for the safety of both herself and her daughter, citing the father’s history of drug abuse and violence.

However, the courts must now decide whether her case qualifies an international abduction-in other words, bringing a child out of the country in violation of state custody laws. The mother insists that she obtained the proper authorization to take the couple’s daughter to Costa Rica before leaving the US, including a signature from the father. However, the girl’s father has disputed this claim and filed a kidnapping charge against his ex-partner. The mother now faces potential arrest should she return to the US.

While the Springfield mother-daughter pair were living in Costa Rica, the girl’s father filed a suit in a Greene County, Missouri, court claiming that the mother violated his custody rights by taking their child out of the country. His claim succeeded, and the Costa Rican legal system has since felt pressured to honor the court’s verdict. Costa Rican authorities declared that the child should be sent back to the US while a new custody agreement is arranged, and the girl was taken away from her mother on January 31st.

The child was held within the Costa Rican welfare system for a total of 12 days before authorities recently returned her to her mother’s care. The Springfield woman has filed an appeal to retain custody of her daughter and to allow both of them to remain in Costa Rica. Currently, the fate of this young girl, torn between two countries and two parents, remains undecided. However, we will continue to follow this case as new developments arise.

Source: KSPR, “Former Springfield Mother Makes Plea From Costa Rica.” 16 February 2011.