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U.S. case puts spotlight on international child abduction

17106108_S.jpgA Colorado dad's family law case is finally coming to an end after years of court battles and international intrigue. Because we believe that many of our readers in Illinois, Missouri and elsewhere will find the tale broadly instructive, we convey its material details here.

The story starts back in 2010 with a divorce proceeding and protracted child custody battle between Dennis Burns and the mother of his two young daughters. A Colorado court ruled in favor of Burns as the primary residential parent. Following that ruling, the mother illegally took the girls out of the country. They have been living in Argentina since their abduction.

Burns never ceased in his efforts to get his daughters back. Despite both the United States and Argentina being signatory nations on a relevant multilateral treaty (the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction) setting forth an expeditious return process for abducted children, Burns had to steadily persist through multiple levels of appeal afforded the mother through Argentina's court system.

Those appellate avenues have now been closed, with a recent ruling from the Supreme Court of Argentina finding in Burns' favor. Burns also prevailed in multiple lower court rulings.

It is expected that the girls will soon be reunited with their father.

Although the Burns case finally spells a happy ending for one dad, it also underscores the magnitude of global abduction and the need for any affected parent to secure proven and aggressive legal counsel following what equates to kidnapping.

Reportedly, more than 1,000 children were internationally abducted by a parent in 2013.

Source: CNN, "U.S. dad wins huge custody fight," Ana Cabrera and Elizabeth Stuart, March 31, 2014

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