If you are getting a divorce and have children, one of the things you may worry about is your custody rights and maintaining contact with your children. If you have primary custody and the other parent is angry about it, would they try to withhold custody or flee with your kids when they have visitation? Do you need to be concerned about an ex-spouse who is a dual national and wants to take your kids out of the country? These are questions you need to answer.
If you find that you’re concerned about parental kidnapping, then it is important to get to know your legal rights and options. You may have the ability to seek supervised visitation or to restrict access to passports, so your children can’t leave the country.
What are the risk factors for parental kidnapping?
There are many risk factors for parental kidnapping that you should know about. Some include:
- That one of the parents does not have a job or is financially independent
- That one parent has a criminal record
- That one parent suddenly sells a home, quits a job, destroys important documents, buys plane tickets, gets passports or visas for your children or starts applying for duplicates of important documents like school records
- A parent who has threatened to abduct a child in the past
- A parent with a history of being uncooperative with the other parent
These are just some of the risk factors, but you need to know that parents who have conflicts over custody are more likely to deal with parental kidnapping issues. This is why it’s so important to try to come to a reasonable solution over your custody arrangements.
Federal law protects children against parental kidnapping
By law, your ex-spouse or partner is not legally allowed to violate your custody orders. Federal law also prohibits the police from requiring a waiting period before reporting or searching for a missing child. If you cannot find your child or believe that they have been kidnapped, report their absence right away. Doing this can help you work to get them back home sooner.