A Malibu couple have lost their bid to win custody of their orphaned grandchildren, according to a recent report in the Los Angeles Times. The Los Angeles County child custody case is the second high-profile international custody decision involving Americans to come down in recent weeks, and highlights the complex and emotional nature of international child custody disputes. This latest ruling means the children, ages 11 and 7, will remain in the primary care of their maternal grandmother, who lives in a remote area of Southern Argentina.
According to an Associated Press report published in the Times, the children’s parents died in a car crash in 2008 leaving behind a hand-written will giving custody to the maternal grandmother. The paternal grandparents, who live in Malibu, contested custody, claiming the older child, who was severely injured in the same car crash, needed medical care that was not obtainable in Argentina. They also questioned whether the Argentine grandmother would allow the children to visit California for one month per year, as required by earlier court rulings.
Idaho’s Supreme Court, however, ruled unanimously that the law gives precedence to the deceased parents’ wishes.
Child custody decisions are always complex, and often emotional. Though the paternal grandparents in this case live in Southern California the case was heard in Idaho because that is where the children and their parents resided prior to the parents’ deaths. Los Angeles and Orange County custody cases that stretch across state lines and international borders are especially complicated. In such circumstances it is particularly important to have an experienced and compassionate Southern California family law attorney on your side. A properly drawn-up will should be an essential part of everyone’s estate planning. Such a document can help ensure that, in the event of your death, your wishes for the disposition of you children and their long term unfold in the way you hope and intend.
AP published in the Los Angeles Times: Idaho Supreme Court says Argentine grandma to keep custody of orphaned Idaho kids