Parent Not Returning Child After Visitation Penalty In California

In MacPherson v. MacPherson (1939) 13 Cal. 2d 271 [89 P.2d 382], the father and appellant, a resident of California, was granted visitation with his two minor children during the two months of their summer vacations each year. The remainder of the year, the children resided with their mother in Connecticut. At the conclusion of a two-month visitation with appellant in California, he failed to return the children and went into seclusion, concealing the whereabouts of the children from their mother. She initiated an order to show cause to obtain the children, but was unable to effect service on the appellant. After a number of years of investigation, the mother located the appellant and the children residing in Mexico. In new proceedings, she obtained an order restoring custody of the children to her and was awarded attorney fees and costs covering her present court proceedings and the expenses she had incurred searching for the children. Also, the appellant was held in contempt and sentenced to five days in jail and ordered to pay a $ 500 fine. The father appealed. The court dismissed the appeal, holding that the appellant was disentitled to pursue a review of the trial court's orders. "In secluding the children in a foreign country and alienating them, appellant violated not only his agreement with plaintiff and the provisions of the interlocutory and final decrees of divorce, but he has also wilfully and purposely evaded legal processes and contumaciously defied and nullified every attempt to enforce the judgments and orders of the California courts, including the very order from which he seeks relief by this appeal. Such flagrant disobedience and contempt effectually bar him from receiving the assistance of an appellate tribunal. a party to an action cannot, with right or reason, ask the aid and assistance of a court in hearing his demands while he stands in an attitude of contempt to legal orders and processes of the courts of this state." (MacPherson v. MacPherson, supra, 13 Cal. 2d at p. 277.)