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Resolving disputes creatively

Failing to gain custody, Washington mother abducts son and flees

New Yorkers know that one significant area of family law involves determining who a child will live with. As a personal issue, child custody is well known for generating anger and conflict. Unfortunately, disputes over custody can sometimes take unexpectedly dangerous turns even between blood relatives.

In Washington state recently, the 34-year-old mother of a 6-year old boy apparently was desperate enough to disregard previous denials of custody because she is alleged to have kidnapped her son in an attempt to flee with him to Mexico.

According to the Chelan County Sheriff's Department, the mother took her son at knifepoint from her own mother's home in Auburn, a Seattle suburb, after tying the woman up and ransacking her home one evening. The grandmother freed herself several hours later and called 911. She told deputies that her daughter may have taken a handgun from her home. An Amber Alert was issued around 9 a.m. the next day.

Some 3 hours later, a high-speed chase began when a deputy spotted the woman's vehicle near Stevens Pass on Highway 2, approximately 60 miles east of Seattle, and she was finally apprehended by law enforcement officers.

The woman had failed in the past to get custody of her son allegedly because of issues involving mild neglect and mental health.

King County prosecutors have charged her with first-degree kidnapping with domestic violence, first-degree burglary with domestic violence and first-degree custodial interference. Her bail was raised from $250,000 to $1 million during her arraignment.

The incident is a reminder that child-custody disputes can take ugly turns. Regardless of how negotiations are proceeding or how family courts make their custody decisions, an experienced New York divorce attorney can usually offer sound legal advice about securing child custody and perhaps defuse such hazardous and volatile situations.

Source: The News Tribune, "Auburn boy from Amber Alert found safe; Mother arrested," Stacia Glenn, May 5, 2014

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