Interference with Custody

The following entry was prepared by Eliana Baer, an associate in our Princeton office.

We previously blogged on the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Abbott v. Abbott, which addressed the meaning of the “right of custody” under the Hague convention. There, the Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to the extent that it ruled that it a noncustodial father who had regular visitation rights with his child, shared in the right to determine the child’s residence, which constituted a right of custody under the Hague Convention sufficient to invoke enforcement under the Hague. As to the issue of the child’s removal over international borders, however, the Supreme Court the Court did not automatically order the child’s return to Chile. Rather, the Court remanded the for a determination by the trial court. Parents from New Jersey and other states are put in similar situations on a daily basis trying to have their children returned to them from foreign nations.

One such recent case is Fuentes v. Fuentes which arose under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act ("UCCJEA"), which is a statute that determines jurisdiction in custody disputes. In Fuentes, the Father, a United States citizen, appealed from a Family Part order that registered an order of the Venezuelan Court, obtained by the Mother, a Venezuelan citizen, and ordered her to return the parties’ son, born in the United States, to Venezuela. The Mother, who was born in Columbia, and Father, a citizen of Venezuela, were married in New Jersey in June 2003. Unbeknownst to the Mother, however, at the time of the parties’ marriage, the father was still married to another woman. The parties’ son was born in September 2003. Approximately three months later, they moved to Venezuela with their child so that the Father could operate a business he owned there. Both parties maintained that the move was temporary.Continue Reading Fraudulent Inducement to Marry Enough to Confer Jurisdiction in an International Custody Battle

The following blog has been written by Eliana Baer, an associate of the firm resident in our Princeton office.

In our increasingly mobile society, it is no surprise that the issue of international child abduction has emerged as one of the new “hot topics” in family law.  On May 17, 2010, the United States Supreme Court issued an opinion in Abbott v. Abbott, involving different aspects of international abduction and custody. Sandra Fava, an associate in our Roseland office previously blogged about this case.


In Abbott, Timothy Abbott, a British citizen, and Jacquelyn Abbott, an American citizen, obtained a divorce in the Chilean courts.  Mrs. Abbott was awarded custody of their son, and Mr. Abbott was awarded visitation rights. At Mrs. Abbott’s request, the Chilean court entered an order prohibiting the child’s removal from Chile by either party without prior mutual consent. When about one year later, Mrs. Abbott removed the child to Texas without Mr. Abbott’s consent, Mr. Abbott filed suit in the Federal District Court in Texas, seeking an order requiring his son’s return to Chile under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Chile and the United States are signatories to the Hangue Convention). The district court held that the child’s removal did not constitute a breach of the father’s "rights of custody" as defined by the Hague convention. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed and an appeal was taken to the Supreme Court of the United States.Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court Rules on the Issue of International Child Custody

After serving almost three years in jail for failing to comply with a Family Judge’s Court Order, a Bergen County, New Jersey jury found Maria Jose Carrascosa guilty of eight counts of interference with custody and one count of contempt of Court. The guilty verdict could result in another ten years of jail time for Carrascosa.

In early 1999, Carrascosa married Peter Inness in her native country of Spain. Carrascosa had resided and worked in the United States since 1992. Inness was an American citizen. After their marriage, they returned to the United States and resided in North Jersey. On April 17, 2000, the parties’ daughter, Victoria, was born. 


By early 2004, the parties had separated and shortly thereafter, Carrascosa filed for a religious annulment with the Ecclesiastic Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Valencia Spain. 


In October 2004, the parties entered into a written agreement, through counsel, indicating that Inness would have parenting time with Victoria and prohibiting Victoria’s removal from the country. 


In December 2004, Inness filed a divorce complaint in the State of New Jersey seeking among other things, custody of Victoria. The Complaint was served upon Carrascosa in early January 2005 and within seven days of being served, Carrascosa left for Spain with Victoria snowballing into two years of litigation in the New Jersey Family Court, New Jersey Appellate Division, Spain and the Appeals Courts of Spain.


In the New Jersey Family Court proceedings, Carrascosa was ordered on a number of occasions to return Victoria to New Jersey and at no point did she comply. Carrascosa argued that New Jersey did not have jurisdiction to handle the matter and that pursuant to an Order of the Court in Spain, Victoria was prohibited from leaving Spain until her eighteenth birthday. However, the New Jersey Court and the New Jersey Appellate Division rejected Carrascosa’s arguments.  After a trial, the New Jersey Court entered one last Order requiring return of Victoria to New Jersey and granted Inness sole and residential custody of Victoria. Carrascosa appealed the Order but the Appellate Division affirmed the rulings of the Trial Court. The Order further directed that should Carrascosa fail to comply with the Order, she would be incarcerated until such time as compliance was met. Victoria was not returned to New Jersey and Carrascosa was arrested on November 13, 2006 pursuant to the Family Court Order.Continue Reading Jail Time for Mom found Guilty in Criminal Intereference with Custody Case