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Judge orders child returned to Sweden for custody hearing

A 3-year-old girl has returned to Sweden with her father after a ruling by a federal judge. In February, the girl's father filed a lawsuit that claimed the girl's mother did not return to Sweden as planned after a trip to Iowa to visit her mother. The judge found that the mother violated the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and ordered her to return the child to Sweden.

The ruling was issued in May, but the mother was allowed to appeal. The ruling on appeal was that the mother did not have any new evidence that would warrant overturning the ruling. The judge said it would be unfair for the father, who had been in Iowa for 118 days in an attempt to take his daughter to Sweden, to experience any further delays. The mother maintained that her ex-husband had given permission for her and their daughter to move to Iowa.

The mother, father and daughter met several times in the past week in an effort to make the transition easier on the daughter. It's been over a year since the child lived with her father. The judge told the mother she could move to Sweden to be near her child; however, the father was able to get the joint custody arrangement in Sweden changed to one where he has sole custody. Because the child custody arrangement originated in Sweden, it must be decided there, per the international treaty.

International child custody battles can be very difficult, especially if the child is taken to a country that does not recognize the international treaty. In many cases, it can take years before a parent is able to see their children again. If you believe you may end up in an international child custody dispute, contact an experienced Colorado family law attorney. This is the best way to ensure your rights - and the rights of your children - are protected.

Source: abcnews.go.com, "International Custody Case Child Returns to Sweden" David Pitt, Jul. 18, 2013

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