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Woman loses child custody extradition fight

A Canadian woman wanted in the United States for allegedly kidnapping her own children and bringing them north has lost an attempt to avoid extradition, according to international sources. Alberta residents may be familiar with the case of M.M., a woman from Quebec who stands accused of violating the child custody clause of her divorce. It appears the woman will be returned to the United States to stand trial. 

According to the story, the mother claimed the children, who cannot be named in the press, fled their father of their own accord, citing allegedly abusive behaviour on his part. The children apparently hid in an abandoned house for several days before contacting their mother, who brought them to Canada with the help of an older sibling. The court conceded this bore out some truth, as the father had been arrested for domestic abuse in 2004. Those charges were dropped after he agreed to counselling. 

However, the court also pointed out the woman did nothing to work with the American authorities for support in protecting her children, instead opting to move them out of the country. Canadian law allows for these actions if there is a threat of imminent danger, but the court says no such threat existed. Furthermore, state laws were similar enough that she should have gone to local authorities first. 

Child custody can be one of the most contentious parts of a divorce, as some Alberta residents are keenly aware. However, it is vitally important both to the spouse and the children that laws pertaining to custody are properly observed. A thoroughly created custody agreement overseen by a professional attorney can help to limit the sorts of situations in which the drastic measures described above could be necessary. 

Source: CBC News - Montreal, "Quebec mother loses latest attempt to fight extradition on custody charge", Ainslie Maclellan, Aug. 3, 2016

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