Child custody battle spurs Connecticut woman to kidnap kids

A Connecticut woman could face criminal charges after she took her three children out of state and failed to return them to their father on time. An Amber Alert was issued, but fortunately the mother and three boys - a 9-year-old and 7-year-old twins - were found with their mother in a Maine hotel room.

Police searched for the 32-year-old woman after she didn't drop off the kids with their father after a weekend visit. The Amber Alert lasted for several hours on the morning of May 13.

The parents had been dealing with a contentious child custody case that ended in November. The court awarded child custody to the father, with the mother receiving visitation rights. The mother had been living in Maine, then Massachusetts and returned to Connecticut. She allegedly has a history of mental illness and lives in her car.

When parents have visitation rights, they typically must abide by a schedule. They must be prompt in dropping off the children back with the other parent. If a situation arises where they cannot make it on time, they should communicate with the other parent. Otherwise, if the parent shows up late - or not at all - criminal charges could be the result. These charges can include child custody interference and even kidnapping.

It's possible that this situation can happen again. If the mother suffers from mental illness and doesn't even have a home for the children to stay in, should she have any sort of custody at all? She could be allowed to visit the boys at their home or a neutral location, but it appears as though the current situation is less than ideal and could be putting the children in danger.