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Kids returned to grandparents after international kidnapping

Texas family law can be confusing for grandparents who want to establish visitation or custody rights with their grandchildren. The need to take these legal steps can arise from a variety of situations, and one is illustrated in a recent and widely publicized story.

Houston-area residents have probably seen the news coverage of a child abduction case involving two parents who illegally took their children, ages 2 and 4, to Cuba. In fact, the maternal grandparents were given legal custody of the two boys after the parents were arrested on weapon and drug charges. According to police, the parents behaved strangely and talked about their "journey to the Armageddon."

The father apparently went to the grandparents' home and tied up the children's maternal grandmother. He then took the kids and drove away in the grandparents' vehicle. Surveillance footage later showed the parents onboard a boat en route to Cuba, and the parents and children eventually arrived at the island nation's Hemingway Marina.

Fortunately, the Cuban authorities were highly cooperative with U.S. authorities, and the children were quickly returned to their grandparents. The parents were also sent back to the U.S., where they will now face additional criminal charges, including kidnapping and interference with child custody.

This particular child custody case was decided in another state, but in Texas, when a parent is incompetent or can't care for a child, the grandparents can request custody or at least visitation with the child. But even in situations that would seem obvious, grandparents often need a legal advocate to protect their grandparental rights and the well-being of their grandchildren.

Texas grandparents who would like to learn more about child custody laws are encouraged to visit our Texas family law site. Our firm helps grandparents obtain visitation and child custody rights.

Source: New York Daily News, "Cuba turns over couple that fled to communist country with kids in two during large-scale manhunt," April 10, 2013

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