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How to proceed if a parent abducts child from other parent

The bond between parent and his or her child is immeasurable. Unfortunately, this bond, often paired with the negative emotions of divorce, can sometimes lead a non-custodial parent to extreme and illegal measures to spend time with their children. This sometimes results is measures such as a parent kidnapping his or her child or children from the custodial parent. It is important to understand what to do and what will be done if an ex-spouse abducts a child due to child custody issues.

A kidnapping will require many agencies to be involved on both the state and federal level, such as local authorities and the FBI. Though it may be helpful to hire private investigators to aid in the search, state and federal authorities will complete the bulk of the recovery process.

If a child is abducted and taken into another country, the issues could be severely complicated. International treaties such as the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction may help both countries work together to get the child back. A parent may also want to reach out to public officials to increase efforts.

If a kidnapping occurs and your child is found and subsequently returned, it is important to have child custody modifications made. The other parent will have criminal charges to deal with, but it is still important to have your child protected from future incidents. If the kidnapper had joint custody over the child, the other parent's custodial rights were violated, which will likely lead to a temporary or permanent change in your child custody agreement. In addition the kidnapper parent will likely have to pay large fines as well as possible jail time.

Parenting dealing with custody issues such as this should understand his or her rights. If a custodial parent believes that a non-custodial parent might violate a custody arrangement, or if a non-custodial parent seeks to increase his or her visitation rights, it might be helpful to consider ways the agreement could be modified.

Source: findlaw.com, "What Legal Remedies are Available if a Parent Abducts a Child?", Accessed July 7, 2015.

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Joseph J. Porzenski
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