Clarksville mother seeks custody of daughter in Dubai - WSMV Channel 4

Clarksville mother seeks custody of daughter in Dubai

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A Middle Tennessee mother is in the middle of a bitter international custody fight. Stacy Peters is in Clarksville, but her 14-month-old girl is thousands of miles away in Dubai.

A judge has ordered the child be returned to the United States, but a difference in the countries' laws could block that ruling.

Stacy and her husband, Chuck Peters, tell very different stories about the situation. Stacy believes Chuck kidnapped their daughter, but Chuck said he decided to divorce Stacy and take the child because he feared for the child's safety.

"I've missed Easter. I've missed her first words. I've missed everything," Stacy Peters said.

She hasn't seen her daughter Caroline in more than two months.

"It's unreal. She's the only thing I've ever wanted in life, and he can take my money and the house and everything else. I've just got to have my baby," Stacy Peters said.

Stacy and Chuck Peters, a former Army major at Fort Campbell, moved from Clarksville to Dubai, where he took a contractor job with the United Arab Emirates. Soon, however, their marriage turned rocky. Chuck accused Stacy of adultery, which she denies, and Stacy said Chuck was physically abusive.

"I have no clue why. I don't know what changed in him. But he went from hating me to just despising me," Stacy Peters said.

In March, just pregnant with their second child, Stacy came home one day to find herself locked out with a note from Chuck stating he was filing for divorce.

"And it said that he had taken Caroline and nothing but a court order would bring her back. And that he'd taken all of our money, that I wouldn't have any," Stacy Peters said.

Stacy left the country two days later, fearful that if the divorce was final Dubai's laws could force her to stay there if she wanted custody of Caroline. She later learned Chuck had also filed charges of adultery and prostitution against her, crimes in Dubai that, if guilty, could result in her execution.

Stacy reached out to the U.S. Embassy and an overseas domestic violence group, and she tried filing kidnapping charges to get her daughter back.

She was encouraged when a Clarksville judge recently ordered the child be returned to Tennessee, but that order may not be enforceable overseas.

"Somebody's got to be able to get through to him, or to talk to the country to mandate that he comes back," Stacy Peters said.

Channel 4 News spoke with Chuck Peters via Skype on Thursday. He explained why he separated their child from Stacy.

"Really, what I wanted to do was protect the health and safety and welfare of my daughter," Chuck Peters said.

He denies ever being abusive, and he said Stacy's alleged prescription drug abuse and affair made her an unfit mother.

"She had an affair. She didn't want to stop, and I understand she doesn't want to be a part of this family. However, please seek some help and sometime you can be a positive influence in Caroline's life," Chuck Peters said.

He also said Caroline is healthy and happy, and he said Stacy is welcome to come to Dubai to visit her child. But Chuck would not speak about the charges he filed that could have Stacy arrested if she goes back to Dubai.

Stacy Peters said she has received lots of political and corporate support, including help from Tennessee congressmen. She said she is hoping they will be able to reach the leaders in Dubai and find a way to get Caroline back to Tennessee.

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