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Child custody dispute may keep tennis star from competition

Victoria Azarenka was formerly ranked number 1 in the world for women's tennis. She is a well-known fixture on the international tennis circuit for her powerful performances at Grand Slam events. Recently, though, the tennis star has been in the news for something other than her athletic prowess: an ongoing legal battle over the custody of her young son.

Azarenka shares a baby boy with a former partner. While she resides in California, she is a citizen of Belarus and travels the world for her career. She and her former partner have become embroiled in a custody fight that now prevents Azarenka from taking her child with her as she plans to go to New York for this year's U.S. Open.

A court blocked Azarenka from taking the child across state lines. Though Azarenka herself may go, she refuses to leave her child behind. She claims that she has a valid custody order from her home country of Belarus that grants her custody of the boy, but, as of yet, the California court has not acknowledged it.

Azarenka may have several options regarding how she may deal with the court's refusal to allow her child to accompany her to New York. She may change her mind and leave the child in the care of his father, or she may forego competition at the US Open and remain in California. She may also seek to file an emergency appeal of the court's decision with an inclusion of the Belarus order to see if she may be granted the right to take the boy with her to New York.

Should Azarenka violate the court's current determination and take the child to New York, she could face contempt charges and serious consequences. It is possible that like others facing child custody disputes, she will seek the counsel of her family law attorney to determine the best course of action for her case.

Source: ESPN, "Making sense of Victoria Azarenka's custody battle and potential US Open absence," D'Arcy Maine, Aug. 18, 2017

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