Costa Rican Father Refuses to Return American Son Who Has Been Living in Costa Rica for Five Years to Mother in US Who is Alleged to Have Chronic Substance Abuse Problem

Father and Mother have a Son together while living in Massachusetts.

Father and Mother break up.

Father returns to Costa Rica.

Massachusetts child welfare agency removes Son from Mother’s care after Mother allegedly tests positive for cocaine and marijuana use and suffers a seizure.

Father’s Mother, Grandmother, cares for Son for about a year.

Then Son is returned to Mother.

About a year later, Mother again allegedly tests positive for drug use.

Then Mother turns Son over to Father and gives permission for Father to take Son to Costa Rica.

Mother asserts that Father’s permission was conditioned on returning Son to her in the US in September of 2006.

Father denies the existence of any such condition.

Father, worrying about Mother’s chronic substance abuse, keeps Son with him beyond September of 2006.

Mother files for custody in Massachusetts family court and presses criminal charges against Father in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts family court awards Mother custody of Son.

Father is not served with the court order.

In 2008, Father is arrested for kidnapping Son, and Father is extradited to Massachusetts.

All this time, Son remains in Costa Rica with Father’s brother, Uncle.

Costa Rican court grants Uncle permanent guardianship of Son.

Mother is reportedly arrested for hitting a police officer after fainting while driving. Mother confesses to having used marijuana with prescription medication.

Nonetheless, the Massachusetts family court orders Father to return Son to Mother.

Father does not.

Father pleads guilty to one count of parental kidnapping and is sentenced to time served.

Meanwhile, the Costa Rican family court refuses to recognize US jurisdiction over Son, who has been in Costa Rica for five years.

Costa Rica did not enter the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction until 2008.

And summons Mother to appear in court in Costa Rica regarding her parental fitness.

Father is awaiting disposition on another pending criminal charge against him in Massachusetts.

Son remains in Costa Rica, where he is reportedly thriving and excelling, having reportedly overcome developmental and speech delays.

Read more in this South Coast [MA] Today article: Parent kidnapping case drags on.