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Parental Abduction, child taken to Colombia

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My ex wife and I were finalizing our divorce in June of 2009, I was living in Meridian, Idaho and She was living in greater Miami, FL. I had never retained a lawyer during the whole proceedings because we (I) were still somewhat cordial and we both had wanted the process to be as painless as possible. I was not in the state of Florida for the final hearing as I was told I did not have to be and so far as I believed, nothing was contested. Our custody agreement as it was sent to me was essentially having shared custody with residence being with my son Jacob's mother; Jacob would stay with me during the month of July and the first two weeks of December; any other visitation would be contingent upon 72 hours notice and both parties agreement. My ex-wife, Diana, drafted and sent the papers to me overnight, and I immediately signed, notarized, and over nighted the 7 papers right back to Diana. Two weeks later (about a week after final judgment) My ex-wife had stopped returning my phone calls and emails. Up to that point I was under the assumption that I would be flying out to Florida to pick up Jacob and was waiting to confirm dates and times. I then received a copy of the divorce decree and was devastated to find that Diana had kept only the last page of the Florida Custody Agreement with my notarized signature and redrafted an entirely different set of agreements that made it appear as though I waived all parental rights and had no desire to participate in the minor child's upbringing and the mother did not have to notify the father of their whereabouts. I immediately retained a lawyer, sold everything I owned, borrowed money, and took a paycut to transfer to a job in Florida. This has been a painfully slow and often fruitless campaign. It took me this long just to be able to throw out the final judgment. I now have an emergency pick up order and am working through the state department under the Hague Convention. I have not seen my son in three years. I have emailed, called, contacted relatives, tried to subpoena, advertised, and done it all again several times. This has been the single most painful event I have had to endure, and there is no end in sight. I still have to locate my son in Colombia, and then convince their government authorities to acknowledge my parental custody and somehow convince my son's mother to voluntarily place him in my custody. All of that being said, has ANYBODY had or is now dealing with the Colombian Government as it pertains to custody? Has anybody dealt with or is now dealing with the US State Department, specifically Mr. Slushers office? I have hired an additional Lawyer in Colombia, how much is a normal retainer? Any helpful hints, suggestions, or points of contacts would be tremendously appreciated. Best of luck to all you parents out there.

Basically all of Latin America, and most every Civil law country I can think of, is non-compliant with the Hague Convention.  I know of very few cases with Colombia personally but one man who may be able to provide some insight into how best to proceed is Isidoro Rodriguez.  I've never worked with, or comunicated with, him personally, but he has a pretty extensive legal background in both countries and an intimate familiarity with these types of cases having litigated one for his own son.

I originally thought that Columbia was not a party to the Hague Convention, but they are somehow covered, I am not a hundred percent sure how. The representatives from the US State department has Hague representatives in Columbia, but I am only in my second week of submitting documentation and have not begun the Colombian side of locating my son. Do you have contact info for Mr. Rodriguez? What I really need is a private investigator to locate my son so that his mother can actually be served with papers (the most challenging part of this entire process for me) and possibly monitor her during the custody transfer so as to prevent her from further evading authorities. An issue that has become apparent is the inability to trust anyone without being extorted or possibly selling information to my ex-wife.

There's some country-specific information on the State Dept's website you might find helpful here:

Colombia is a signatory to the Hague Convention.  You can read a bit about their history of compliance with it here:

Most of the information there is a summary of the State Department's country specific information flyer (linked above by LukieD) and details that have been included in past Compliance Reports.


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