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1988 Army Law. 62 (1988)
Some Tips on Automobile Damage Estimates

handle is hein.journals/armylaw1988 and id is 122 raw text is: The teaching point is clear-resort to self-help in child
custody matters is fraught with danger, even when the par-
ent is doing no more than asserting a legal right that exists
beyond dispute.
Part of this decision's importance rests on a state's will-
ingness to pursue criminal enforcement against a parent
who allegedly kidnaps a child. But how common is it for a
state to initiate criminal action in such cases? Case law sug-
gests that states may be getting more aggressive in this
regard. Three different courts have recently held that a vis-
iting parent who fails to return a child to the custodial
parent after a period of visitation has violated the state's
criminal statutes. See Wheat v. Alaska, 734 P.2d 1007 (Ct.
App. Alaska 1987); Illinois v. Caruso, 152 Ill. App. 3d
1074, 504 N.E.2d 1339 (1987); Rios v. Wyoming, 733 P.2d
242 (Wyo. 1987).
In each of these cases, the parent who allegedly commit-
ted the offense did so while residing outside the state. Thus,
consider the hypothetical case of a soldier stationed in Tex-
as who arranges for a child to be flown from the custodial
parent's home in Wyoming for visitation in Texas and who
then refuses to return the child. If there is a court order es-
tablishing the other parent's right to custody, the soldiei
could be extradited to Wyoming for a violation of Wyo-
ming law (ie., interference with a Wyoming resident's
custodial rights) and there be subjected to criminal prosecu-
tion. It would be no defense that the soldier had never
before stepped foot in Wyoming. Neither must the custody
decree emanate from a Wyoming court; it is enough that
some valid court order exists and affords the other parent
the right to custody.
Given the extent of our legal assistance clients' interna-
tional mobility, it is also worth noting that U.S.
jurisdictions are showing a willingness to apply UCCJA
limitations when asked to exercise jurisdiction and ignore
custody proceedings pending in foreign courts. At least four
different states have declined to hear cases initiated by U.S.
citizens because a court in another country already had ju-
risdiction over the matter.
Thus, in Middleton v. Middleton, 227 Va. 82, 314 S.E.2d
549 (1984), the Virginia Supreme Court found that a state
trial court should decline to entertain an action to modify
its own earlier custody order because the children had re-
sided in England for the preceeding six years. Instead, the

custody dispute should be heard by the English court where
the mother initiated an action to remedy the father's refusal
to return the children after a period of visitation in Virgin-
ia. In Klont v. Klont, 130 Mich. App. 138, 342 N.W.2d 549
(1984), a Michigan appellate court held that the trial court
should have deferred in exercising jurisdiction in a child
custody case because a West German court already had ju-
risdiction over the dispute and the parties. More recently, a
Texas court deferred to a Mexican court's jurisdiction in an
ongoing divorce and custody matter. Garza v. Harney, 726
S.W.2d 198 (Tex. Ct. App. 1987). The Mississippi Supreme
Court came to the same conclusion regarding a matter
pending before a Canadian court. Laskosky v. Laskosky,
504 So. 2d 726 (Miss. 1987).
The overall result of these recent cases in this often-liti-
gated corner of the law is a reaffirmation of the notion that
self-help and dirty tricks will not be rewarded. A concern
for the child's best interests is a concept that pervades all
these decisions, and that is a trend few will want to criti-
cize. Major Guilford.
Child Support Developments
West Germany recently enacted legislation that allows its
officials to enter into reciprocal agreements with individual
states regarding child support enforcement. Consequently,
Germany may be treated just as another state in Uniform
Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act (URESA) actions
in those jurisdictions that have such agreements. This will
allow a more streamlined support enforcement procedure
than the old method of seeking assistance through the Deu-
tsches Instituet fuer Vormundschaftswesen (the DIV, or
German Institute for Guardianship Affairs). Parents who
are entitled to receive support from obligors located in
West Germany (including soldiers and civilians stationed
there) may now be able to seek assistance through the local
state child support enforcement agency.
Mr. Robert Dunn of the Office of the USAREUR Judge
Advocate reports that as of November 1987, twelve states
had entered into such reciprocal agreements. They are: Cal-
ifornia, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Maryland,
Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South
Dakota, and Tennessee. Major Guilford.

Claims Report
United States Army Claims Service
Some Tips on Automobile Damage Estimates
Captain Harold E. Brown, Jr.
CONUS Torts Branch

Settling automobile claims'almost always requires the use
of damage estimates from body shops, car dealerships, and
insurance companies. Many claims offices tell claimants to

secure estimates of repair to submit with their claims. To
properly review an estimate, however, a claims examiner



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