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Laura Dale & Associates, P.C.

Want to avoid a child custody order? Get married.

That headline probably does not make sense, but it will. This blog falls under the "unbelievable" category. It was so bizarre that we thought readers in Houston, Texas, would be interested in learning about the lengths some people will go to while avoiding a divorce decree or child custody court order.

A judge had ordered a divorcing couple's son into a boarding school for help with his behavioral problems. The boy had been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Oppositional Defiant Disorder, had been enrolled in several schools and had run-ins with the law. But he boy's father took the law into his own hands.

He avoided having to send his son to the boarding school by bringing him to Nevada. There the boy could get married then legally considered an adult. The act would effectively legally emancipate the boy from the court's oversight and ruling.

While the father and his ex-wife share joint custody of their son, he took the boy and his housekeeper's 18-year-old Colombian-born daughter to get married one day after his son's sixteenth birthday without the ex-wife's knowledge.

In Nevada you need only be 16 years old and have the written consent of just one parent to get married. By getting married and legally being considered an adult, the boy could avoid going to the out-of-state boarding school. What's more, the boarding school would not take married students.

A judge sentenced the father to 180 days in jail for contempt of court for disobeying the earlier court's order to admit the son to boarding school. The judge called the father's conduct egregious, contemptuous and stubbornly disobedient.

Source: The Miami Herald, "Fisher Island man jailed for marrying off teen son during divorce proceedings," David Ovalle, July 12, 2012

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