Child abduction brings to mind images of scary men dressed in black with masks. The reality is that many abductions are perpetrated by people the child knows, like friends or parents. International child abduction by a parent occurs at a sufficient frequency that the State Department issued tips on how to identify and prevent it. This article will go over some of those tips and the steps you can take to reduce the risk.
There are some warning signs that may help you catch a potential abduction early. For example, if your spouse holds dual citizenship, travels abroad frequently or has friends and family abroad. Additionally, if your spouse holds dual citizenship, it is possible your child does as well, which makes it easier for your ex-spouse to take them out of the country. These are all indications that moving abroad would be easy and feasible.
Additionally, pay attention to the other parent. Have they quit their job? Did they empty all of their bank accounts? Unusual moves tend to indicate that your spouse plans to do something big or drastic.
Moreover, don't procrastinate once you find out your child is missing. Alert the police and the FBI. Give them as much information as you can. Although the FBI is unable to arrest and bring people back to the U.S., they can work with local law enforcement to retrieve your child. How this process works depends upon where you child was taken.
As for preventing abduction, one of your most powerful defenses is a detailed and well-written custody order. You can request that the court include detailed instructions on: visitation dates, times and duration, supervision and locations. This allows you to control and know where you child should be at all time. Additionally, if you can demonstrate need, the court can require that both parents obtain court consent before moving the child out of state. The court may also request that both parents surrender their passports to a neutral third party.
If you are in the midst of a divorce, then you should probably speak to a lawyer. Divorce entails many overlapping and unanticipated problems. Sound legal advice and assistance through the custody dispute are critical to securing your parental rights.