Cases & Deals

Abusive husband's attempt to kidnap children is foiled

Clients Client M

Jones Day Los Angeles successfully represented a client in her request for a permanent restraining order against her husband of nearly twenty years. To escape her husband's escalating abuse, the client and her two minor children fled from another country back to the United States, and the client found a job, a home, and put her children in school.

When her husband traveled to the US and threatened to take the children back to his home country so that she would never see them again, the client obtained a temporary restraining order on her own. Her husband responded by retaining counsel and filing for divorce. The client then requested the court grant her additional time to find counsel before setting a hearing on her request for a permanent restraining order, and the court agreed.

The husband's counsel responded by approaching a different judge ex parte; the husband obtained an order shortening time to hear the request for the permanent restraining order, on the purported ground that the husband planned to take the children out of the country for a vacation -- except that, of course, the husband previously had threatened the client that he would not take the children for a "vacation," but would permanently remove them from the U.S.

The court granted the husband's request to shorten time, which left the client without counsel only days before a hearing in which her husband's lawyer planned to ask for permission for the husband to take the children out of the jurisdiction, to a country that does not recognize international law on child custody kidnappings. With only four days to prepare for trial, Jones Day stepped in and, despite the limitations of time, Jones Day obtained a five year permanent restraining order for the client, protecting her and her children, with sole legal and physical custody of the children awarded to her, and an order that the husband cannot contact or travel with the children.