At least 22 active child custody disputes are ongoing between American parents and those living in Egypt. Little can be done in many of these cases, largely because many Muslim and Arabic nations have not adopted provisions from the Hague Convention that would protect abducted children. As a result, many youngsters are being prevented from seeing their birth parents because their mother or father has chosen to abscond with them.

News reports tell the story of one Maryland man who has not seen his children since 2001. His ex-wife fled the country with his two boys after the man dropped his kids off for a weekend visit. The woman had fled to Egypt almost immediately. The man’s fears were confirmed when he received a call from one of his sons from Egypt several weeks after the abduction.

The man and his attorneys have attempted to recover the children, but many of their efforts have been dismissed by Egyptian authorities and government officials.

The children were abducted more easily because their father did not insist on full enforcement of the custody agreement, which required that the woman visit with the children only with a third party present. That third person was generally the boys’ paternal grandfather. Their father had received reassurance that the boys would be protected by his ex-wife and her mother, however.

The woman exploited a loophole that has since been closed in the State Department: She called to obtain new passports for the boys since she did not have access to their records. At that time, it was possible for just one parent to receive these new documents. Now, though, both parents must confirm the release of the paperwork.

The custody battle continues, even though the man had been granted full physical custody. This case underscores the importance of all parties’ willingness to abide by custody agreements, which are drafted for the benefit of the children.

Source: cnn.com, “Father helpless to bring kidnapped sons home from Egypt,” Kyle Almond, David Fitzpatrick & Drew Griffin, April 15, 2013