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Michigan man guilty of parental kidnapping

When parents go through a divorce, many different issues need to be discussed and sorted out. Whether or not the parents choose to get a judge or court involved, or reach an agreement on their own, the important point is to simply agree on the outcome. Reaching a consensus on child support or custody matters may seem impossible but the more that parties can come to terms with the arrangement, the more likely each side is to follow through with the plan.

A man from West Michigan recently made a major mistake by taking his children before the court reached an agreement on legal custody during a divorce proceeding. The man two his two children to Florida last year in absence of their mother's consent.

While going through a divorce, the father did not drop off the children with their mother as they had agreed and instead took the 4 and 2-year-old to Florida during February of last year amidst the divorce. The children were discovered safe in Key West a short time later.

The man faced a jury in the circuit county court in Mason County and the jury convicted him of one count of parental kidnapping for each of his children. The father defended himself throughout the trial but was still given a prison sentence of 28 months up to 15 years for the kidnapping.

We all know that emotions run high during a divorce, especially when children and custody and visitation rights are at issue. But parents must remember not to let these emotions get the best of them during the divorce proceedings. A rash decision may hurt them in the long run and actually diminish their right to time with their children. It is important to always speak with an attorney before making an big decision or move in these situations.

Source: Holland Sentinel, "West Michigan man sentenced to prison for parental kidnapping," April 10, 2013

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