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New hope for parents facing custody battles in global arena?

by | Dec 17, 2013 | Child Custody

As Colorado dad Dennis Burns continues to forge resolutely ahead on a family law matter that has embroiled him for several years, he might derive some hope from proposed legislation on Capitol Hill that is directly focused on his problem.

That “problem,” as centrally noted in our November 19, 2013, blog post, is his continued inability to make progress in getting his two daughters back to Colorado. As we noted in that earlier post, Burns’ ex-wife abducted the girls, unlawfully relocating with them to Argentina several years ago. Burns has been unable to get them back, despite having been granted child custody as the designated primary residential parent.

Burns joins several thousand other Americans who have been termed “left-behind parents.” Despite their persistent efforts to reconnect with their children, they have often been unsuccessful. Burns’ case, for example, continues to stall even though he has a court order demanding the return of his children and has solicited help from the federal Department of State.

A new bill that is currently in the U.S. House of Representatives aims to provide parents like Burns with added diplomatic ammunition in their efforts to make progress in stalled custody disputes.

As noted in a recent media article discussing the bill, the House “is expected to give strong bipartisan support” to the would-be legislation.

If passed, the law would provide for specific actions to be taken by both the president and the State Department that would progressively turn up the heat on recalcitrant private parties and governments. Those would include private interventions from the White House and even economic sanctions in extreme cases.

Source:, “Bill may help ‘left-behind parents’ in global child custody fights,” Herb Jackson, Dec. 11, 2013

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