Divorced Man Accused of Illegally Moving His Children to Gaza Strip
US authorities have accused a divorced Palestinian man of illegally moving his three children from their Kansas home to the Gaza Strip.
Two of the children were born in the US, and one was born in Gaza.
Their US-born mother, Bethany Gonzales, wants them back in the US, but faces a difficult challenge in enforcing her rights in Gaza, which is ruled by the militant group Hamas under sharia law.
Hamas has frequently launched rockets from Gaza into neighboring Israel, and Israel has launched air strikes on Gaza in response.
Under the couple''s 2008 divorce decree, the children lived with the father. The mother, who has since remarried, had visitation rights. The couple lived 10 minutes apart in Overland Park.
The federal court filing alleges that the children’s father, Ahmed Abuhamda, used his sister''s wedding in Gaza to convince his ex-wife to sign passport applications for the children, age 13, 10, and 9.
The divorce decree allows Abuhamda to move the children overseas, with their mother''s permission. Abuhamda told reporters that he had her blessing, but Gonzales denies that. She showed reporters an email from her ex-husband in which he referred to a “reservation confirmed” for the return flight to Kansas. She later got a text message from her ex-husband saying he wasn’t coming back to the US.
Abuhamda has been charged with aggravated interference with parental custody.
New Jersey law recognizes that when a parent moves a child to another state or another country it’s usually much more difficult (and often expensive) for the non-custodial parent to have time with the child.
Generally, a parent who wishes to move a child out-of-state must discuss this with the other parent. New Jersey law allows the child to be moved with either the consent of the other parent or a court order granting permission.
To get such a court order, the custodial parent must show a good faith reason for the move and must also propose a reasonable parenting time plan for the non-custodial parent.The court will consider 12 factors when ruling on such a request. These factors include the custodial parent’s reasons for moving and the age and preferences of the child.
If you have concerns about child custody or other New Jersey family law issues, contact the New Jersey family law attorneys at the Law Offices of Greenberg, Walden & Grossman, LLC.