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Remedies if a Parent Abducts a Child

Experienced Lawyer

Many times in a divorce situation, emotions run high and can often cloud judgment and reason, especially when children enter the equation. If there are issues with child custody and one parent takes the child and attempts to hide from the other parent and from authorities, what resources are available to the other parent?

Law enforcement and the criminal justice system can assist in finding the child and to help change the custody agreement to help prevent this from happening again. This is what the law says about a parent abducting their own child:

Parental Abduction

When a parent abducts a child with the intent of not letting the other parent have contact with the child, against custody orders, several state and federal laws come into play. You are advised to allow law enforcement at the state and federal level to search for the child and parent and let the criminal justice system proceed as designed.

You may, at your own expense, hire a private investigator to search as well.

After Child is Found

After the child is found and back at home with you, you will want to make sure that this does not happen again. The court will address the current custody arrangement and if you had joint custody with the parent who took the child, they are in violation of that agreement by denying you your custody rights. This is a very serious offense and a judge could temporarily or even permanently eliminate that parent’s custody rights. The laws are different and vary by state so be sure to consult with a family law attorney as soon as you suspect your child was taken by the other parent.

Enforcing the Custody Agreement

In addition to any federal or state laws broken as a result of abducting the child, the parent who took the child likely violated a custody order. That parent would be subject to the same remedies they would receive if they had violated any other child custody order. These penalties may include significant fines, possible jail time, and loss of visitation rights or custody.

What if the Child is Taken Out of the Country?

The situation becomes more complicated if the child is taken by the other parent to another country because it is more difficult to enforce any remedies. You may even have to contact public officials who may be equipped to use any political influence they may have to help find and return your child. It will greatly depend on the country your child was taken to as to the methods of trying to get them back. In these cases, the US State Department may be able to assist your endeavors.

Contact an Attorney

If you are concerned that your ex-spouse may try to take your child against your wishes and in violation of the custody agreement, contact an experienced family lawyer in New York, NY to review your case. A lawyer can work with the court to help get tighter protection for your child.

 

Thanks to Okun, Oddo & Babat, P.C. for their insight into family law and child custody cases.


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