If you are going through a tumultuous and adversarial divorce, you may be faced with a spouse who has threatened to take your child away from you. Perhaps their previous history has indicated that they have behaved abusively or might abduct your child. If you are concerned that your spouse or ex-spouse may kidnap or abduct your child, here are some important details to know.
Parental Child Abduction Is Common
Unfortunately, the truth is that parental abduction or kidnapping of children is common. According to the Department of Justice, in one year more than 200,000 children were abducted by a family member. In many cases, the abduction of the child was not immediate, but occurred when the other parent already had legal custody of the child. During the time that the other parent had a legal right to have their child, they may take them across the county or state lines, or in a worse scenario, out of the country, which would constitute international abduction.
Preventing Child Abduction
If you have a suspicion that your spouse or ex-spouse may abduct or kidnap your child, take these steps to attempt to prevent it:
- Have current contact information for all relatives, family, friends, work or other places that your spouse may be in contact with both in your area and throughout the U.S. (or out of the country, if applicable).
- Keep a file with current information about your spouse or ex-spouse, including a recent picture, license plate number, driver’s license number, social security number, passport number, bank information, and the make and model of their vehicle.
- Keep a similar file with all current information, including recent photos of your children.
- Obtain fingerprint records of all of your children by going to the local police department, so this information can be shared quickly across state lines.
- Teach your children how to make phone calls with both cell phones and landlines. Have them memorize the emergency number and your telephone number and address. Have them memorize an additional family member’s phone number. Remind them often to call you in case they ever feel as if they are in danger.
- In severe cases where you absolutely suspect that your spouse or ex-spouse may kidnap your children, consider hiring a private investigator to follow along on visits when the other parent has custody. They will not be able to interfere in any way with the visit but can ensure that the child is not taken across state lines without alerting authorities immediately.
What to Do If You Are Ever Faced With Parental Abduction of Your Child
If you are ever in the horrifying situation where your spouse or ex-spouse has abducted your child, you need to contact law enforcement immediately. Additionally, you may consider contacting the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678. Additionally, if you feel your child may be abducted or already has been abducted, contact the Office of Children’s Issues at 1-888-407-4747. Finally, contact an experienced family law attorney to help you obtain accurate information regarding your child custody rights and legal advice on how to proceed.
Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney
If you are in the process of a divorce or believe that your spouse or ex-spouse may abduct your child, contact the Law Offices of Dorie A. Rogers at 714-500-8428 or online today for a consultation and to help you make decisions regarding how best to protect your child.