Legal decision making in Arizona (formerly known as "custody") usually refers to how major decisions about a child's healthcare, education, and (sometimes) religion will be made, but within those broad categories, most of the issues that crop up between parents are actually about far more specific disagreements. Recently, a dispute between Michigan parents about whether and when to vaccinate their child boiled over into a citation for contempt and a jail sentence for the child's mother.
As Part 1 of this article described, the family court in Tucson had a legal dilemma on its hands. On the one hand, as the trial court acknowledged, Mexico was the home state of this child and the highest court in Mexico had determined that the Baja court had correctly taken jurisdiction over the case. On the other hand, the reason that Mexican law gave jurisdiction to the Baja court was because Mauricio had claimed abandonment-a claim which does not exist in Arizona. If the exact same case had come before the trial court but the two parents had been living in two different U.S. States instead of two different Mexican states, the UCCJEA would have given jurisdiction to the state where the mother and child had been living-exactly what Elsa had been arguing for all along.
Arizona family law attorneys know that custody disputes are often contentious, complex, and costly. The issues are polarizing and emotionally charged, so perhaps it's no surprise that even well-meaning parents sometimes fight. Occasionally, the legal system itself joins in the tug-of-war, as in the recently decided case of Margain v. Ruiz-Bours (Ariz. App., 2016).
A father's three year legal battle to spend time with his daughters appears to be coming to end this week, with the ruling of the Supreme Court of Argentina that Victoria (age 7) and Sophia (age 5) must be returned to their father's custody.