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Conflicting filings raise custody concerns in Rock's divorce

The legal status of a young girl is in question as a result of divorce proceedings between comedian Chris Rock and his ex-wife Malaak Compton-Rock. At issue is the fact that Compton-Rock is seeking child support for a child that Rock says is not his dependent. As a result of the dispute some are raising concerns about whether the situation represents a case of possible child trafficking.

According to reports, the 7-year-old girl is from South Africa. While she has not been legally adopted, the Rock's have been raising her since she was 9 months old. In many instances over the years, the girl has been photographed with the Rocks and their two biological daughters as part of the family. In 2010, Compton-Rock dedicated a book she wrote to all of her daughters and named the child among them.

However, divorce papers obtained by news outlets show that while Compton-Rock lists the child as a dependent and is seeking child support for her, Rock only lists his two biological children as dependents. And reports indicate that the girl has been in the U.S. on a tourist visa all this time.

South African police say they are now investigating the case. One official says South African laws prevent parents from letting their children to travel overseas indefinitely with third parties. And he says that if money or gifts exchanged hands between the Rocks and the girl's parents, it might amount to child trafficking.

An attorney for Compton-Rock says the girl is in the country legally and with parental consent. He also says she is trying to complete a formal adoption but that such international actions often take a lot of time.

Experienced Louisiana family law attorneys know that adoptions can be legally complicated. And they don't have to be international to be that way. Domestic adoptions can be challenging, too. And when divorce becomes an element of the case, child custody matters can get even more difficult.

To protect the rights of all involved, it helps to have the backing of solid legal counsel.

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