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Chicago Father Wins Right to Keep Daughter in Interstate Custody Battle

Chicago, IL – April 4, 2011 –- In an contentious, two-state custody battle, Cook County Judge Debra Walker awarded Manuel Rivera, Jr., immediate possession of his 4-year-old daughter after the mother unlawfully removed the child to the State of Texas.  Court records indicate that the daughter had resided with her father, Manuel Reivera, Jr., and his parents her whole life.

Originally, the mother had requested that Mr. Riveria permit her to take Kaylani to Texas to visit relatives, purportedly on a temporary basis in October 2010. Brutal reality set in by November 2010, when Mr. Riveria realized the mother had no intention of returning the young child back to the only family she has known in Illinois.

In an effort to reunite with his daughter, Manuel Riveria Jr’s lawyer, David Pedraza of the Law Offices of Jeffery M. Leving, Ltd., successfully navigated the litigation between the States of Illinois and Texas to obtain an emergency order of possession requiring the safe return of his daughter.

When it came time to retrieve the child in January 2011, the mother again refused. The Texas Sheriff then indicated they would not be able to enforce the Cook County Order unless it was registered in Travis County, Texas. Attorney Pedraza then coordinated with Texas counsel, who filed the necessary petitions and registered the order.

In March 2011, the Texas Court ordered mother to turn over her daughter to client’s parents.  In Illinois, Cook County Judge Johnson mirrored the Texas court decision by granting Mr. Rivera continued possession of his daughter and set a permanent custody hearing for June 30, 2011, at 2 P.M.