Tag Archives: child custody disputes

“A Mother’s Love” by Kelly Fratamico


“Mother and Child (A Goodnight Hug)” (1880) by Mary Cassatt, Source https://www.wikiart.org/en/mary-cassatt/mother-and-child-1880 (PD)

Readers of my other blog A Lawyer’s Prayers will be familiar with Christian Legal Clinics of Philadelphia https://www.clcphila.org/, a non-profit whose predecessor I had the opportunity of co-founding.

Through the efforts of volunteer Christian attorneys and paralegals, CLCP provides the poor of Philadelphia with legal services at no charge.

This is one story [1]:

“In 2016 Maria, a native of the Dominican Republic, sent her two young sons, to live with their father in the US.  She could not afford to come with them, so stayed behind…Maria made this sacrifice so her sons could receive a better education and not be influenced by violence in their town.

Maria was finally able to join her sons and their father in the United States…in the summer of 2021.  However, their father became abusive with Maria and tried to keep the boys from her.  With the help of the police and her sister, she was able to retrieve her sons and move into a place of her own.  However, Maria…was scared that he would use the court system to take  her sons from her.” Continue reading


Filed under Abuse of Power, Christianity, domestic abuse, domestic violence, Justice, Law, Poverty, Religion

Happy Ending

This will be the first Christmas in over a decade that Julian Hernandez and his mother get to spend together. The 18 y.o. was kidnapped at the age of five by his father. The young man only learned of his abduction when he found his Social Security number invalid, on applying to college [1].

The Hernandez case illustrates the lengths to which parents will go in custody disputes. Nearly one in ten missing children have been kidnapped by a family member [2]. Frequently, the intention in these cases is to prevent contact by the other parent or permanently alter custodial arrangements, rather than cause physical harm to the child.

Over 200,000 children are kidnapped by family members each year [3]. The figure may actually be higher. It is estimated 40% of family abductions are never reported to police. Younger children are at greater risk of such abductions than older ones.

The situation is complicated when children are taken across state and national borders.

The larger context for family abductions is the dysfunctional family setting. The Hernandez case had a happy ending. Not all abductions do.

[1] Complex – Pop Culture, “Teen Finds Out He’s Been Missing for 13 Years When He Applies to College” by Debbie Encalda, 11/5/15, http://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2015/11/missing-teen-discovers-he-was-abducted-13-years-ago-when-applying-for-college.

[2] Polly Klaas Foundation, “National Child Kidnapping Facts”, http://www.pollyklaas.org/about/national-child-kidnapping.html.

[3] US Department of Justice, National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Throwaway Children (NISMART II), “Children Abducted by Family Members: National Estimates and Characteristics” by Heather Hammer, David Finkelhor, and Andrea Sedlak, October 2002.



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Filed under Child Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Violence Against Women