As most North Carolina readers may already know, some child custody battles are anything but easy. When both parents want custody and can't come to agreement on a plan, conflict can arise quickly. When one parent escapes to another country things get increasingly complicated.
An international child custody battle currently in the news is a prime example of how difficult these issues can become. The case involves a same-sex couple named Lisa Miller and Janet Jenkins who married in Vermont when the state became the first to recognize same-sex relationships in 2000. After marrying, the two conceived a child through artificial insemination.
The couple dissolved the civil union in 2004 after Miller became an evangelical Christian and renounced her homosexuality. At that time, Miller had primary custody of the couple's daughter and Jenkins had visitation rights. Miller than disappeared and sources say she is now in Nicaragua although her whereabouts are uncertain.
Jenkins is going to court in hopes that the child will be returned to the U.S. According to her attorney, "Janet is really only interested in action that might help bring Isabella home and ensure that Isabella is safe. Janet's overriding concern is Isabella's welfare."
A trial is underway against the leader of a network of Mennonites who allegedly helped Miller escape the country with the child. Nicaragua did not sign the 1980 Hague convention on international child abductions which was designed to return children who are taken from participating countries illegally. This could put another wrench in an already complicated child custody battle.
Source: Associated Press, "Trial nears in Vermont civil union child custody case," Wilson Ring, August 5, 2012