International Parental Child Abduction

international child abduction

Show Topic

This show aired on March 12, 2017. It was hosted by David Enevoldsen. Jeffrey Morehouse and Dr. Noelle Hunter, appeared as guests on the show. The show looked at International Parental Child Abduction, what it is, the criminal nature of it, what the problems are with it and the Hague Convention, child recovery experts, and the possibility of reform to get children returned to their parents.

Guest Information

Dr. Hunter is the cofounder of the IStand Parent Network, which is the umbrella organization for a coalition of parent advocacy groups determined to end International Parental Child Abduction. To learn more about the IStand Parent Network see www.istandparentnetwork.com.

Jeffrey Morehouse is cofounder of Bring Abducted Children Home, another organization dedicated to raising awareness and bringing an end to International Parental Child Abduction. To learn more about Bring Abducted Children Home, see www.bachome.org.

 

Headlines

Headlines in the show looked at Flagstaff pushing for a change in its minimum wage, the Texas legislature pushing to re-impose fault in divorce, Scarlett Johansen filing for divorce, Angelina Jolie announcing that she wants to adopt more children, and Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck proclaiming their intention to stay together.

Transcript of Show:

Speaker 1: No attorney, client relationship is being formed through this program. If you need legal advice, your particular circumstances can vary from what is presented here and you should seek the advice of an attorney licensed to practice in your state.

Speaker 2: Welcome to the Family Law Report, the show that explores issues related to marriage, divorce, and children. Hosted by David Enevoldsen, a practicing family law attorney in Arizona. Now, here is your host.

David Enevoldsen: Hello everybody, welcome to Family Law Report, I am your host David Enevoldsen, I am here with you every Sunday at noon on Independent Talk 1100 KFNX. Here on Family Law Report, this is a show where we talk about all sorts of current topics related to family law. And that can range from what is happening in political arena, things like gay marriage, gay divorce, to things as simple as, working through the nuts and bolts of a divorce. I am a practicing attorney, I work here in the state of Arizona, I have worked specifically in the area of family law, and by family law I mean essentially anything related to marriage, or divorce, or fights over children, custody fights, child support issues, prenuptial agreements, that sort of thing. I am a partner at a family law law firm here called Family Law Guys, which is an Arizona firm with offices in Phoenix, and we have a Prescott office. We do not practice outside of Arizona but if for some reason you want to call us and get some insight into your particular situation, you can schedule an appointment. You can do so at 480 565 8680 or you can check out our website at www.familylawguys.com. Today we have got a pretty exciting show for you lined up, we are going to be talking about international parental child abduction. Which is a pretty serious problem that I have run into in a couple of the cases that I have worked on within the custody universe. It is, in essence, it deals with when a parent takes a child, and abducts the child to another country. And, is it possible to get your child back? If so, what are the steps that you have to do to deal with that? I have a couple of guests that are going to be talking with me about this topic, Jeffrey Morehouse and Doctor Noelle Hunter, who, do we have them on the line? Jeffrey, are you there?

Jeffrey Morehouse: Yes, I am here David, good afternoon.

David Enevoldsen: And Doctor Hunter, do we have you as well?

Dr. Noelle Hunger: Yes, thank you, it is Noelle, yes, I am here also.

David Enevoldsen: Okay, Noelle, I will refer to you that way, thank you.

Dr. Noelle Hunger: Thank you.

David Enevoldsen: Thank you both for being here with me today, we are going to do a couple of quick headlines, so feel free to weigh in on any of that, and then we will jump into talking about internal parental child abduction. Some stuff going on in the news right now, in Flagstaff, there has been a change in minimum wage, and I am sure you are going to immediately ask the question, what does minimum wage have to do with family law? And, 1 of the reasons that I constantly am dealing with family law is in the calculation of child support. There, if a parent is not working at all, then under the Arizona Child Support Guidelines, that parent is supposed to be imputed minimum wage. So, what the minimum wage is is going to drive what a child support calculation says. Well, as many of you may be aware, Arizona recently changed the law, such that, our minimum wage is now 10 dollars an hour, well Flagstaff has been working on an increase of minimum wage over that. So, they are looking at making it 12 dollars an hour, by July, and then 15 dollars an hour by 2021. So, I suppose the moral of the story there is, if you want to avoid a higher child support obligation, you should avoid living in Flagstaff any time in the near future if you are under employed, or not working right now. In other news we have, Texas is trying to pass a bill to reimpose fault into divorces. The, just as a way of background, in the US, we generally have shifted into this idea of no fault divorce. And a no fault divorce is essentially 1 in which you go forward and you proceed to divorce without having to prove anything is wrong. It used to be that, in order to get a divorce, you would have to prove what was called fault, or that there was something the other spouse was doing that was seriously wrong. So, for example, you could have, your spouse was cheating on you, or they were abusive, or they were an alcoholic, or strung out on drugs, or something of that nature. As time went on, we shifted into a system of no fault, which basically meant that you could go to the court and say, rather than having to prove any of these fault systems, you could just say, I do not like my spouse anymore, I do not want to be with them anymore, just, or let me go, let me have a divorce. And so, pretty much everywhere in the country has shifted into that trend, Arizona is a no fault divorce state, as is Texas. Well, Texas is trying to pass a bill that is currently in the Juvenile Justice and Family Issues, excuse me, the Texas House Committee on Juvenile Justice and Family Issues, and it is expected to pass into full house, and from there it will potentially pass into law. Where Texas would be reimposing the fault requirement into divorces. In other news we have some celebrity divorces which I personally like to look at for a couple of reasons, 1 is that I think it is very humanizing to see the celebrities go through the divorces, and they can go through all the same basic trials and tribulations that every other person on the planet goes through. Because, when I see the celebrity divorces and things that are happening in that arena, it seems identical to the stuff that I see everyday as an attorney, watching divorces for everyday people. And so, it gives some insight, I think, when you can see what is going on there into, not only the fact that these, the stars, and the people in Hollywood that we watch are just like everyone else, but also, kind of shows you the same things that these people are going through. Recent celebrity divorce issues, Scarlett Johansson recently filed for divorce from her husband, Romain Dauriac. They were, they’d been married for 2 years, and apparently Dauriac has come out and he said that he is really upset about the fact that Scarlett filed in the 1st place. He is quoted as saying, it is indeed unfortunate, especially for our daughter that Scarlett filed in court and made our personal difference so public. He has apparently come out publicly, made a huge deal about the fact that she has filed at all, and thought he wanted everything to be more private. Quite frankly, as an attorney, I am a little confused by that because to get a divorce you need to file. So, I am not quite following the rationale there but, he is up in arms. In different news, we have Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, who seemed to always have some sort of drama going on, they are still in the midst of their divorce, and Angelina has announced that she wants to adopt more children, they already have 6 kids, legally, but she is either going to wait for the divorce, but if the divorce takes to too long, she is going to get more children anyway. And then finally, in a little more positive note, there is Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, who were married back in 2005, later separated in June of 2015. Well, they have apparently announced now that they are going to have another go, and try to recover their marriage, so they are, they have undone their divorce, in essence. So, and this is important in my mind just because, even though I am a divorce attorney, I still always explore the question of whether or not 2 parties really need to be divorced. When I am doing initial consultations, 1st question I am always asking is, do you really want to be divorced from this person? Is this someone that we can, you can reconcile with? Can we set you up with some sort of marriage counseling? Or is there a way that we can work through all of this? So, you know, I think it is quite commendable that Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner are trying to fix it, and trying to take another pass here. And, they have kids, and they have clearly made it a point to the press that that is 1 of the driving factors in their trying to reconcile, they both love their kids immensely, and they want to do what is best for their kids. So, that is all I have in the celebrity divorce universe. Now, just a real quick introduction, Jeffrey and Noelle, can you just say hi and we have got to, we are going to jump to a commercial break.

Jeffrey Morehouse: Great, well, it is good to be with you today David to discuss this important topic. I appreciate you inviting me on.

Dr. Noelle Hunger: Yes, as do I, thank you so much Jeffrey, thank you for taking out time to share in this, I look forward to it.

David Enevoldsen: All right, well thank you, we are going to jump to a quick commercial break, and when we come back we are going to talk to my guests about international parental child abduction.

Speaker 6: Family Law Report is hosted by Family Law Guys, an Arizona family law firm. Family Law Report is dedicated to confronting difficult issues related to marriage, divorce, and children. This can range everywhere from addressing the legalities and controversies of topics like gay marriage, to current problems in the divorce system, to simply providing tips to those getting married, or going through a divorce or custody fight. Tune in every Sunday to Family Law Report at noon, here, on KFNX. If you want to know more, or to schedule an appointment with David, or another 1 of the Family Law Guys attorneys, call 480 565 8680, that is 480 565 8680.

David Enevoldsen: All right, welcome back, I am David Enevoldsen, an attorney with Family Law Guys, an Arizona law firm, and you are tuned into Family Law Report on Independent Talk 1100 KFNX. Got with me 2 guests, Jeffrey Morehouse and Noelle Hunter, and we are going to be talking about international parental child abduction. So, 1st question, what exactly is that? To, and I can pose this to either 1 of you, what is international parental child abduction?

Jeffrey Morehouse: So international parental child abduction is a crime that occurs when 1 of the parents takes the child, or children, to a foreign country, with the intent of not returning.

David Enevoldsen: And is this done in scenarios where there is an existing custody order? Or does it matter?

Jeffrey Morehouse: It does not matter, from what I have seen, I have seen a variety of situations where there may be existing custody orders that actually restrained the other parent from taking the child out of the state. You know, for instance, from taking the child from out of Arizona, to cases where a court has granted permission for 1 of the parents to take the child to a foreign country for a temporary visit, and then they never return. So, it really runs the gambit.

David Enevoldsen: And that actually seems like, in my experience as an attorney, very frequently had parents come to me in the midst of a custody fight, they seemed very frustrated, and they have conversations. Sometimes in jest and sometimes I think not so much where they say, I just want to flee the country, and take my kid, and get away from this other parent. So, you are saying this is basically the situation where they act on those statements, and they truly do flee.

Jeffrey Morehouse: Yes, yes, and in fact I think if a parent makes such a statement, even if it is perceived to be in jest, it should be taken very, very seriously. Because, 1 of the fundamental problems is, if they do take the child, or children, to a foreign jurisdiction it complicates the situation by a factor of 10, at least, in trying to get those children returned. 1 of the fallacies that I have seen and members of the legal community that I have spoken with, is that there is a perception, sometimes, that foreign courts are going to work similar to ours, and that could not be further from the truth. They function very, very differently, there may be some similarities, and some courts are completely different from ours. So, to put the illness back on the parent that may be victimized in the process, to try and enter into a foreign jurisdiction to have her child returned, is pushing them down a very, very dangerous, and extensive path.

David Enevoldsen: Certainly, and I did not mean to indicate that I was saying I was okay by any stretch, and usually when those conversations come up.

Jeffrey Morehouse: No, and I did not take it that way.

David Enevoldsen: I am very clear about the fact that, you know, it is illegal to do this, it is going to make everything way worse by going down this road, and there is a host of problems that go along with it. So, it is always my suggestion not to do that if you are in this situation, or you are thinking, I am going to just flee and run the country, keep in mind you probably are never going to be able to set foot in the US again because you have committed a felony, and you are going to be on the run for a while, and there is a host of other problems that go along with that as well. Let me get some background from both of you, Jeffrey, I was talking to you, so maybe I can jump this over to Noelle. Noelle, what do you do? What is, do you have an organization related to this?

Dr. Noelle Hunger: Sure, our organization is called iStand Parent Network, and we are an organization, our primary purpose is to empower parents whose children have been internationally abducted by a parent, or are at risk of doing so. And so, we provide referrals, we provide peer advocacy support, and then we also advocate with my coalition partner, Jeffrey there, and other coalition members for reform on this issue at the state, and the federal, and at the international level. As well as, I am a parent that, whose daughter was kidnapped, my daughter was parentally kidnapped from our home in Kentucky, to Mali, West Africa in 2012. And she is home now, she came home in 2014, after about 2 and a half years of advocating for her. And so, now I work with other parents to help them achieve this same miracle.

David Enevoldsen: So you actually were able to recover your daughter?

Dr. Noelle Hunger: I was, I was, and it was through a process obviously, and we just encourage every, single parent who unfortunately has to go through this, to dig in at the very beginning, and recognize that we have to be our own advocate. So, we jokingly, but it is true, we say, we have to be the quarterback, the attorney, we have to be the intermediaries, all of those things, because what you [UNKNOWN] that is, once a child is taken to a foreign court, it is just incredibly difficult, if not unfortunately sometimes impossible, to return those. I just wanted to say 1 other thing, we rightly focus on the parent and prevention, but we always underscore that international parental child abduction is a crime, it is a crime under federal statute, and in some states as well. And so, it is a crime, and it is also child abuse, and we always want to be very sensitive to the children’s best interest as you stated earlier.

David Enevoldsen: Absolutely, Jeffrey, tell me about your organization.

Jeffrey Morehouse: So our organization is called Bring Abducted Children Home, or bachome.org. And we are a nonprofit, as is Noelle’s organization. We started, 6, 7 years ago I think, with regards to the abduction crisis between the US and Japan, because there have been more than 400 American children kidnapped to Japan since 1994, not to mention the thousands, probably 10,000 or so statistically, domestically within Japan. And not a single American child has been returned to an American parent, to date, by the Japanese government. So we got together and created a nonprofit to work on this issue, and then over the years it transformed, as Noelle mentioned, we and some other partners cofounded the Coalition To End International Parental Child Abduction, so that we could collaboratively work together to address this issue, not only in local areas, but also on a federal level.

David Enevoldsen: Okay, so did you, what got you into this cause?

Jeffrey Morehouse: Good question, so, I am a parent of an internationally kidnapped child myself, or another term that you may have encountered in your work David is, a left behind parent. This is a term, kind of going through something called the Hauge Abduction Convention, federal government uses it sometimes, local law enforcement may use it. It is a term I do not care for personally because, I think it marginalizes the issue. So, I am a parent of an internationally kidnapped child, I had full custody in Washington state, where I am based, I had travel and passport restraints in place, which were the only things I could do at that time to prevent my child from being abducted. And what I learned through the process, is those safeguards, at that time, were only self enforcing. So in other words, if the other parent did not want to abide by the restraints, there was nothing I could do at that time to prevent my child from being abducted. So, after that happened I obviously got very involved in focusing on my own child and trying to get him returned. But, I quickly saw that there were large, large group of parents throughout the United States, that were not getting the help and assistance they needed. And, it seems like the necessary solution would be for organizations to start, so that we could work together and bring the unity of parents together to address this issue.

David Enevoldsen: Okay, now, you had mentioned a second ago the, so or, let me back up, you have not recovered your son then, is that correct?

Jeffrey Morehouse: That is correct, that is correct, last time I saw my son was on Father’s Day of 2010.

David Enevoldsen: Okay, well, I am sorry to hear that.

Jeffrey Morehouse: Thank you.

David Enevoldsen: The, so Noelle’s story about actually recovering her daughter, sounds like that is kind of rare in these instances, is that a fair statement?

Jeffrey Morehouse: Yes, I would go out and say it is extremely rare, and only know of a handful of parents that have been able to get their children back.

David Enevoldsen: Okay, and you mentioned a few minutes ago, the Hague Convention, can you explain what the implications of that are?

Jeffrey Morehouse: Yes, yes, it is maybe a term that you have encountered in your legal career.

David Enevoldsen: I certainly have.

Jeffrey Morehouse: Yeah, okay, so it is an international convention that, I think the idea of it was good, they were trying to level the playing field and create a rule structure so that if a child was taken a to a foreign jurisdiction, kidnapped to a foreign country, in this case say, from the US, that there would be a clear mechanism to have that child returned to the home country, here in the states. The problem with it has been that, it is interpreted differently by different countries, and it is self enforcing. There is no overarching body that says to a foreign, you know for example, Japan, or Brazil, or India, which happened to be the top 3 offenders on this issue, Mexico has a lot of cases, as does Canada, cause we share borders there. But there is no overarching international body that says, you are not following the principles here, so we are going to punish you, and there will be recourse. So, what has happened is countries interpret it how they wish, and often find loop holes, or as they legislated into their law, they create loop holes that allow the kidnapping parent to refuse to return the child. And then in other cases, the foreign court may not have any enforcement mechanism to enforce their own rulings, and have those children returned to the US.

David Enevoldsen: Okay, so how, do we know how many countries are Hague signatories? That will actually for this mechanism when it works?

Jeffrey Morehouse: No, you know that number, I do not have the number off the top of my head, I would have to look it up, do you know Noelle?

Dr. Noelle Hunger: I am sorry, I do not know it off the top of my head, but I am looking it up here.

David Enevoldsen: Is it fair to say there are a lot of countries that are not Hague signatories?

Jeffrey Morehouse: I would think it is fair to say, I mean, regionally, I am more aware of Asia, our focus has been on Japan historically, and I do know that China is not a signatory, but I think Hong Kong is.

David Enevoldsen: All right, we are going to jump to a quick commercial break here, sorry to cut you off, when we come back we are going to talk more about international parental child abduction, you are tuned into Family Law Report on Independent Talk 1100 KFNX.

Speaker 6: Family Law Report is hosted by Family Law Guys, an Arizona family law firm. Family Law Report is dedicated to confronting difficult issues related to marriage, divorce, and children. This can range everywhere from addressing the legalities and controversies of topics like gay marriage, to current problems in the divorce system, to simply providing tips to those getting married, or going through a divorce or custody fight. Tune in every Sunday to Family Law Report at noon, here, on KFNX. If you want to know more, or to schedule an appointment with David, or another 1 of the Family Law Guys attorneys, call 480 565 8680, that is 480 565 8680.

David Enevoldsen: All right, welcome back to Family Law Report, I am your host David Enevoldsen, and we are talking about international parental child abduction, with my guests, Jeffrey Morehouse and Doctor Noelle Hunter. Now, we kind of cut you off there when we were jumping to a commercial break, and I apologize for that. We were just talking about the Hague Convention, and kind of how that provides, at least in theory, a mechanism to recover a child that has been abducted internationally. Did you want to conclude your thought on that Jeffrey?

Jeffrey Morehouse: Oh, yeah, you had asked how many countries were Hague signatories, and it looks like roughly about 75 is what I am seeing on the State Department website. And then.

David Enevoldsen: So there are quite a few countries that are not Hague signatories?

Jeffrey Morehouse: Correct, correct, but it is a major initiative from the federal government, or at least it was in the Obama administration, it remains to be seen under the Trump administration, whether the State Department will continue to promote this as a viable solution. And, this has been a fundamental problem, from my perspective, because they are out there pushing this on countries, and then the public perception, when they are aware of the issue, is if that country becomes a signatory, everything is safe and good, and you can simply file in a foreign court for, what is called, a Hague Return Order, and they will hear it, by rule of the convention, within 6 weeks, and then you would have a swift and speedy return. And that is just not practically what has occurred here.

David Enevoldsen: Now, is Japan an example of a place that is a Hague signatory where you are seeing problems in terms of the actual, utilizing the mechanism of recovery?

Jeffrey Morehouse: Yes, Japan became a Hague signatory in 2014, and they were cited last year in the State Department’s Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction, along with many, many other countries. Japan was cited specifically for failure to enforce their judicial rulings. So, in other words, there were return orders by the courts, and they had no ability to enforce them, and these children are still stuck in Japan.

David Enevoldsen: Do you have any idea why they do not enforce anything?

Jeffrey Morehouse: Japanese family law does not have the same enforcement mechanisms as we may have here in the US, each state can be a little bit different, as I understand it. But, in essence, the court will rule the children should be returned, and then it is left up to the kidnapping parent to voluntarily comply with that. And so there is a fundamental disconnect, if you have somebody that’s intent is to kidnap, why would they want to comply if there is no recourse for not complying?

David Enevoldsen: Sure, Noelle, let me jump back to you for a second, you, now we were just talking about this Hague Convention, creating, again, a theoretical mechanism by which to return children, assuming that the country is both a Hague signatory, and is going to cooperate with the process. Is that what you used to get your daughter back?

Dr. Noelle Hunger: Well, great question, Mali is 1 of those nations that is not a signatory to the Hague Nation, and as a matter of fact, most of the African nations on the continent are not, I believe South Africa, Morroco, and Kenya, and Zimbabwe, I think those 4 are signatories to the Hague [UNKNOWN]. So no, I had to go through diplomatic, or I utilized diplomatic channels, I engaged my congressional delegation which began to advocate with me to the nation of Mali for her return. I went through the civil court processes both in the United States and in Mali, and so, for your listeners, or for your parents who are going through this, it is an incredibly expensive process, we have to have legal representation on this side to establish orders for demand to return, or things that would be useful in Mali. And so, in Mali, I also, I retained an attorney, so for 2 and a half years we adjudicated on this side and that. But then we also, you know, I had a vibrant social media following, and lots of family, and lots of friends so it was pressure that came to bear mainly in our case. There were lots of other factors that went on but we essentially engaged the nation of Mali on every level, through their ambassador, on their soil, I went there twice, through their US ambassador, or their Malian ambassador here in the United States on Capitol Hill. And so, unfortunately, many parents who do not have those types of networks or resources, they find themselves struggling. I am glad you said that in theory, the Hague is supposed to be an expedient framework to return children, or to establish habitual residence, and certain other factors complicate that as well. There is this varying understanding about what is in the best interest of the child, Jeffrey rightly mentioned that it is not an expedient process, and so sometimes during, if the Hague proceedings are protracted, the children can be, determined to be well settled. Meaning, so much time has lapsed, in that even if there was a successful Hague resolution, there could not be because the children now reside elsewhere. And so, and 1 of the other things that, if you would just permit me, you mentioned at the very start of this conversation, you were talking about relationships, and divorces, and with Ben Affleck and his wife were trying to put it back together. So that is beautiful and, from our perspective, we always want children to have access to both parents whenever possible, but that is 1 of the issues that we have with getting people to recognize that parental child abduction approval cannot be as a crime, is because it is too easily dismissed as conflict between parents, or custodial issue, or that is just 2 adults and it has gone wrong, and the child in the middle. And so, 1 of the things that we are doing, that I stand and as a coalition, is continually educate that it is a crime, that it is a child abuse, and there are certain laws that come into play, you know, when a child is abducted. And so, we have lots of work cut out for us but, we are optimistic that we have more parents who are joining in who are fighting for their own children, and now recognizing the strength of numbers that comes from working together.

David Enevoldsen: Okay, now, I know that in, just to throw in my lawyer half of this, it is a felony in the US under the United States code Title 18, section 1204, if you care about the numbers, to engage in international parental child abduction. Do you feel that that legislation does anything? Do you feel that is inhibits things? 1 of the things that occurs to me is it seems like it obviously needs to be a felony, but that if someone has already gone and engaged in taking a child outside of the country, there is really zero incentive to ever come back because then they just get arrested, and thrown in prison. Do you have any thoughts on that?

Dr. Noelle Hunger: I mean, I think that the law is good, and necessary, and proper, it is the enforcement of it that has to occur at the local level 1st before more, and then 1 up the chain. So, I will give you a very specific example of this, so we are working with a parent in Pennsylvania whose son is abducted to Malta, and she went to the police to report her son as being abducted, to do this, it has been about almost over a month now, there is no report that has been written, the child has not been entered into the National Criminal Information Center, the NCIC database which would allow other triggers, including the potential for that child to be entered into Interpol and have a federal warrant issued. And so, that law and others like it, are good but, the local police, the local courts, district courts, family courts, right up into our Congress, and US attorneys, they have got to enforce this law, that is our issue.

David Enevoldsen: 1 of the questions that seems to most prominently pop up, if you are a parent and the other parent has taken your child out of the country, has engaged in this kind of abduction, you see that and you go to the courts, and for whatever reason, the system is just completely failing you or you are getting mired down in the paperwork of the Hague Convention, or the other parent, I guess this would be particularly relevant to scenarios is where the other parent has gone to a non Hague signatory. Why not just go get the kid?

Jeffrey Morehouse: I think that is a great question, and I would imagine almost all the parents that I have known over the years, Noelle probably would concur, have certainly had that thought.

Dr. Noelle Hunger: Yeah.

Jeffrey Morehouse: There are a lot of fundamental problems with that. I mean, 1st of all, it is so specific to whatever country they are dealing with. 1st of all, if you are going to encounter after they have been taken, how much time has transpired? How much brainwashing has actually occurred? What crimes might you be committing in that foreign jurisdiction? We may have what is called an Extradition Treaty, for those that are not lawyers in the legal community out there listening, where if you have committed a crime in that country, the US may have to send you over there to stand trial. The trials may not be willing to go willingly.

David Enevoldsen: So it could be very dangerous for the person trying to get, just legally speaking in this other country, it could be very dangerous to go get your kid in essence?

Jeffrey Morehouse: It could, it could, you know, I do not discount the option for some people, they may feel it is the best approach, and I do know a handful of us that have gone that route and been successful, and had they not, they may not have gotten their children out. But, the risks are incalculably hard. And then in addition, we were discussing prior to the call today, child recovery services. Somebody looks for somebody in the system, in this service, they are out there, but are they reputable?

David Enevoldsen: All right, I am going to have you hold that though real quick, and we will talk about child recovery experts when we come back. We are going to take another quick commercial break, you are listening to Family Law Report on Independent KFNX 1100.

Speaker 6: Family Law Report is hosted by Family Law Guys, an Arizona family law firm. Family Law Report is dedicated to confronting difficult issues related to marriage, divorce, and children. This can range everywhere from addressing the legalities and controversies of topics like gay marriage, to current problems in the divorce system, to simply providing tips to those getting married, or going through a divorce or custody fight. Tune in every Sunday to Family Law Report at noon, here, on KFNX. If you want to know more, or to schedule an appointment with David, or another 1 of the Family Law Guys attorneys, call 480 565 8680, that is 480 565 8680.

David Enevoldsen: All right, welcome back, I am David Enevoldsen, and you are listening to Family Law Report. Today we are talking about international parental child abduction, and I have guests Jeffrey Morehouse and Doctor Noelle Hunter. Now, just maybe we can get a quick plug, if people want to find out more from either of your perspective organizations, where would they go to get information?

Dr. Noelle Hunger: Sure, they could also.

Jeffrey Morehouse: [UNKNOWN].

Dr. Noelle Hunger: Oh, I am sorry Jeffrey.

Jeffrey Morehouse: No, go ahead Noelle.

Dr. Noelle Hunger: Okay, Jeffrey, and I, and our coalition partners just by the way, we meet biweekly on a call that we continue to advocate on this issue so, we sometimes step on each other’s lines there, sorry Jeffrey.

Jeffrey Morehouse: No worries.

Dr. Noelle Hunger: So, anyone who is interested in, what iStand is doing to, to find out services or referrals that we might have available or to support this organization, can go to istandparentnetwork.com.

David Enevoldsen: Okay, and Jeffrey?

Jeffrey Morehouse: And for anyone that, yeah, for anyone that is interested in what we are doing, to bring abducted children home, you can find us at bachome.org, it is B A C H O M E dot org. And though you will see we focus a little bit more on the Japan crisis, if you are dealing with another country, I can certainly reach out to partners like Noelle, or if it is an India case, the org that focuses on India, etcetera, and we can steer you in the right direction.

David Enevoldsen: Now, if you have any questions, if you are listening and you would like to call up and ask our guests questions, you can call in at 602 277 KFNX, and to give my own firm a plug, if you for some reason have a family law issue and you wanted to speak with an attorney about something, my firm is the Family Law Guys, phone number is 480 565 8680, or you can reach us at familylawguys.com. Now, right before we went to break, we were talking about child recovery experts, and some of the, I guess, potential problems with that. Jeffrey, what were you saying about child recovery experts?

Jeffrey Morehouse: Well, just to tie that up, I think 1 has to be very, very careful and concerned if you engage into anything with a purported child recovery service expert. There have been a lot of con artists out there, there was 1 arrested in New York a couple of years ago, I believe he is standing trial at some point here not too soon, in the future. So just be very, very careful and cautious.

David Enevoldsen: Now when you say con artists, you mean they are finding people who have had their children abducted? They are kind of in this vulnerable place, and then they come in and say, hey, pay me a bunch of money and I will go get your kid and they just never do?

Jeffrey Morehouse: Exactly, exactly right, that is exactly what has occurred. And in some cases they may go over to that foreign country and do a little reconnaissance work, and report back to you, and say here is what we can do, and here is what we cannot. It is really about separating a victimized parent from their money, in many cases. There may be some legitimate ones out there, but 1 has to be very, very careful and discerning.

David Enevoldsen: Have you heard some stories in which this was carried out successfully?

Jeffrey Morehouse: I have, yes, I have, I do not want to get too much into that area.

David Enevoldsen: Oh for, that is fair, well.

Jeffrey Morehouse: Because [UNKNOWN].

David Enevoldsen: And just to go in the other direction, I know recently in the news, in 2016, there was a story about Sally Faulkner. Are either of you familiar with this story?

Jeffrey Morehouse: I know a little bit about it, Noelle? Are you familiar with that one?

Dr. Noelle Hunger: Sally Faulkner?

David Enevoldsen: Yes.

Dr. Noelle Hunger: I am not familiar with it.

David Enevoldsen: So, as I understand it, she, Sally Faulkner was a mom in, I believe, Australia, and she, her kids were abducted to Lebanon, she had 2 children and their father took them there. And, she went out and tried to raise the money for a child recovery expert, finding that she could not get them through any legal means. So, she could not afford that, I think approached 60 Minutes, it is a little unclear to me how exactly this changed hands, but, I guess 60 Minutes supposedly had potentially paid out some money for this child abduction recovery international group, who was supposed to go out and recover the children. Well, everyone got caught, and arrested in Lebanon, and then there were a bunch of charges that were being faced there, it ended up being a complete disaster apparently, and the children were not recovered. In fact, there was, last I heard, there was some agreement the mom was having to put into place in Lebanon saying she would basically relinquish all custody. So, it seems like a potential horror story of doing the more James Bondish approach and just trying to get 1 of these child recovery experts to go through it, it seems like it could completely blow up in your face.

Jeffrey Morehouse: Yeah, it certainly can, but you know, there may be some legitimate ones out there, I think it is just very hard to separate the true assistance from the folks that are just looking to take money from you, then give you [UNKNOWN].

Dr. Noelle Hunger: The parents are, yeah, parents are in a very vulnerable position too cause, you know, when you are separated from your child by various seas or miles, and someone comes with a sure fire solution for you, and if it is too good to be true, typically. But then even there are, we have to be on our guard here, there are certain scams that come up, and our children’s faces are put on posters to raise money without our awareness, etcetera. And so, you know, it is unfortunate that there are levels of exploitation out there, and it is just very important for parents to be vigilant. It is another thing on top of what we have to do, but they are very important, and we all talk in this growing network of parents. And so, we would always encourage another parent to run it by someone else, cause we typically know, kind of what is legit and what is not, at this point.

David Enevoldsen: So, what do we do? What is the, say somebody is listening and they say, you know, I want to be involved in this, or they have concerns about the other parent may flee the country to some non Hague signatory country, or something like that. What, how do people get active in this? How do people stop it? How do people change what has happening?

Jeffrey Morehouse: Okay, so, there are a couple of things in there. 1st of all, as far as prevention, if they have a case that they are concerned about, you need to get travel and passport restraints ordered by the court, and I would also recommend they get in touch with the US State Department. There is a Prevent Abduction Division, reach out to Noelle’s organization or ours, and we can get you in touch with the right people. There is very specific language that they would need in that custody order, or parenting plan, to fit a relatively new federal program that aims to prevent the child from exiting through a US airport. So that is 1 thing they can look into.

David Enevoldsen: So this is something the attorney should be getting involved in too, I mean.

Jeffrey Morehouse: I would hope attorneys would too, there are parents out there that do not have the means to hire an attorney, although it is always recommended to get an attorney to help you through it, but yes.

David Enevoldsen: Now if you have somebody that is self represented, is there a place they could find this language as well, to get into the custody order?

Jeffrey Morehouse: They can, yeah, they can come to 1 of our organizations, we negotiated with the State Department, and Homeland Security, and came up with language that they would find acceptable, drawing from different sources around the country. But, the language is always evolving and changing, so the best way is to run potential language by the State Department officials that work in this area to make sure it would meet their needs for the program. The other thing, National Center of Missing and Exploited Children, they have counsel that will provide affidavits to attorneys, sometimes to self represented parents, specific to the country you are dealing with. So if you are child might be taken to Brazil and you are concerned about that, they can custom tailor it to help educate the court about the risk factors. So those are a couple of things I would do on the prevention side. As far as getting involved, Noelle, you want to?

Dr. Noelle Hunger: Sure, there are many ways to get involved, we just always encourage parents who are, Jeffrey says, very precise and kind of the preventive but, if you are already in it, and your child is already abducted from you, there is no time to waste and we have to be very persistent. We have an annual conference in Washington, and it is coming up May 10th through the 12th of this year, it is the iStand Parent Network International Parent Conference and Embassy Walk. And what that does, we come from all over the nation, and last year we had parents coming from 3 different countries, and for 3 days we engage. And I do not mean just 3 days, but it is a good start for engaging with the legislature. So, we have Capitol Hill advocacy days and we engage with leadership and representatives, we have a congressional briefing, we have a day long conference that is designed to bring in folks from the Justice Department, the State Department, Homeland Security, the social work community to give parents tools and suggestions about how to fight this on a personal level, and then hopefully to connect them with a [UNKNOWN]. As someone who, and all of us have seen, how social movements begin, you know we very much encourage parents to get involved with my organization, Jeffrey’s, there are several out there, get involved for your child, you can get our peer support and advocacy, and then together we can do the ground swell that it is going to take to change this issue, and to change response at every level to it. So, get involved.

David Enevoldsen: All right, great, well thank you very much, we are about out of time for today. I want to thank my guests, Jeffrey Morehouse and Doctor Noelle Hunter, thank you so much for being here with me today, and telling us all about international parental child abduction. My name is David Enevoldsen, you are listening to Family Law Report, and we hope you will be with us next week, on Sunday at noon on Independent Talk 1100 KFNX.

Dr. Noelle Hunger: Thank you.

Jeffrey Morehouse: Thank you David.

David Enevoldsen: Thank you.

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