Divorce-Related Abductions And A Father’s Fight For Parental Rights


Divorce-related child abductions lead to immeasurable heartbreak for children and parents and defy the principles of child custody law. That’s what Colorado father Dennis Burns learned on September 9, 2010, when the most important things in his life – his two daughters –were kidnapped and taken to Argentina by his former wife.

Parental Rights Becomes a Bitter Battle

Dennis and his former wife Alianelli had endured a bitter divorce battle, complicated by the fact that Alianelli made unfounded claims of abuse against her husband. She had requested that the judge let her raise the children in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Separating the girls from their devoted father by thousands of miles didn’t fly with the court, and Dennis won custody as primary residential parent in Colorado.

But a few weeks later, Dennis had his worst nightmare when he discovered his girls had been abducted. Four years later, he is still fighting to regain custody of Sophia and Victoria, now aged 4 and 7.

A Growing Problem

It’s a sad fact that such divorce-related abductions are increasingly common. Indeed, the U.S. State Department receives about 1,200 new cases of international custody cases every year. In many of these cases, parents blatantly defy court rulings, often fleeing to their native country and denying visitation rights.

Principles of Child Custody Law and Parental Rights

According to Thomas R. Eineman, author of Florida Family Law Trial Notebook, there are certain rules that parents must follow when it comes to child custody. In many abduction cases, these essential parental rights are violated.

One of the primary considerations in child custody is that each parent honors shared time with the other parent. The mother in this case clearly violated the father’s rights in taking the children out of his reach, which is exactly what the court had ordered against.

Eineman explains that child custody factors also depend on a parents’ ability to provide a proper upbringing. The judge may consider the moral, mental and physical fitness of each parent. A parent’s ability to provide a consistent routine, schedule and discipline is also a primary consideration.

The stability of the environment and the satisfaction and preference of the child are of utmost concern, but are often overlooked during bitter disputes.

Learn More

When rapid access to family authority is needed, turn to Thomas R. Eineman’s Florida Family Law Trial Notebook. This book allows you to quickly find arguments and objections on the eve of trial, in court, or during a recess. You receive:fftn

  • Summary of the law. A quick and easy reference to the law regarding every major substantive issue in marital and family law cases.
  • Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure. A complete, plain English summary of every rule, complete with case annotations.
  • Evidentiary issues highlighted. Separate chapters are devoted to evidentiary issues most commonly encountered in marital law cases, including documentary evidence, trial testimony (proffering testimony, privileges, and objections), witnesses (including expert witnesses), and the rules of hearsay.

Florida Family Law Trial Notebook is the single source for answers to issues arising in family court. Its tabbed pages and unique organization will help you solve the most difficult evidence, procedure, and substantive law questions.