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Airplane diverted due to child custody dispute

Recently, a flight that was scheduled to travel from the state of Virginia to Beijing, China, had to be diverted as a result of an alleged child abduction. A boy and his mother were on the flight when the boy’s father, a U.S. citizen, notified the Federal Bureau of Investigation of his concerns that the mother was attempting to permanently remove the child to China with no intention of returning to the U.S.

The FBI ordered the airplane, which was carrying 180 passengers, to return to Virginia. The plane was in Canadian airspace when it was diverted by the FBI. The passengers on the plane were initially told the plane was experiencing mechanical problems. After the plane landed, the passengers were informed that the plane had been diverted due to the child custody dispute. The child’s mother was charged with kidnapping and taken into custody; the boy was reunited with his father.

No child should be caught between two hostile parents. However, disobeying a court-ordered custody and visitation schedule may have negative consequences for all parties involved. Not only is it not in the best interests of the child, but if a parent purposely prevents the other parent from exercising his or her child custody or visitation rights, the first parent’s child custody rights could be adversely affected or even lost. Parents who are experiencing custody and visitation problems should seek to understand their rights and what they can do in the event of child abduction.