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Last week, in Bower v. El-Nady, et al. (August 27, 2013), a divorced mother who fled to Egypt, taking her two children with her without the consent of the children’s father and in violation of a Massachusetts court order granting sole custody to the children’s father, has been ordered by U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns to pay more than $40 million in damages.

Judge Stearns found himself in the “impossible position of having to place a dollar value on something that is intangible and invaluable.”

Under the circumstances, Judge Stearns believed that an award of $20 million to the father and $10 million to each child was appropriate, “whether seen as symbolic or as a rough approximation of an immeasurable loss of filial companionship that may be permanent.”

He also awarded the father “$250,000 for the actual expenses that he has incurred to date in his efforts to rescue the boys and for the likely expenses he will incur in the foreseeable future in the endeavor.”

More information on child custody issues is available at Mass. Law About Child Custody.

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