Parental child abduction most commonly happens when two parents separate or begin divorce proceedings. This vulnerability of the child is magnified if the other parent has close family, or other ties, in another country.
There are several reasons for parental child abduction. The most common motive is revenge. These parents believe they have been unfairly treated in a custody battle and misrepresented in court. They will not only take the child to hurt the other parent, but also to assert that they are capable of doing it.
Here Are Some Tips to Prevent Parental Child Abduction
- Respect the other parent’s visitation and custody rights. Desperation, anger and frustration are the leading causes of parental child abduction
- Try to maintain a friendly relationship with your ex – spouse and their family. If the abduction does occur, you want the support of the kidnapper’s family to bring your child home safely.
- Begin the custody process immediately after a divorce and get temporary custody of your child. You cannot prove your rights without a custody order
- Keep a certified copy of the custody order with you at home and check with your family court that it is indeed the most recent order.
- Record and document any previous parental child abduction threats.
- Get the police or prosecutor to intervene. It can help if they contact the other parent and warn them of the criminal consequences of parental child abduction.
- Notify the school, your doctor, the day care center and babysitters of the custody orders with the instruction not to release your child to anyone without your permission. You should also ask them to contact you immediately if the non – custodial parent tries to pick up your child without your consent.
- Keep information such as their Social Security number, recent photos and license plate number of the non – custodial parent.
- Keep a written description of your child close by, including height, hair and eye color, weight, date of birth and other identifying physical features.
- Make sure you are in possession of your child’s passport and notify the authorities that your child may not leave the country without your authorization. Alternatively, ask the court or your attorneys to hold onto the passport for you.
- Make sure your custody order includes the terms of the Hague Convention. This is a treaty between countries that agree to abide by one set of laws for the return of a child removed from their home country.
- If the non – custodial parent is not a U.S. Citizen or has ties to foreign countries, a request can be made for the parent to post a bond. This is not only a parental child abduction deterrent but should something happen, it can be used as your source of funds to recover your child.
- Lastly, make sure you file or register a copy of the custody order in the non – custodial parent’s state. This will notify the court that a valid order has been made and must be enforced. You can contact your local family court for advice on how to do this.