When does child abduction become an issue in a divorce?
The problem arises either before the divorce is final or after the divorce is over. In both cases, we would be dealing with a parent who fears losing his or her family, fears loss of custody, and takes matters into their own hands.
During the divorce process, what safeguards can be put together to assist prevention of this abduction?
If the parent can prove that there is a real threat of abduction, the court can put on an entry for supervised companionship. That is, the threatening parent could only see the children with a court-appointed supervisor monitoring the parenting time.
What if there is a concern that a parent intends to leave the country with the children?
The client should immediately notify his/her attorney. The attorney can file a motion for restraining order preventing the issuance of a passport and preventing removal of the children from the country. This may be done the same day as notification by the client.
Isn’t this just a piece of paper? How can this restraining order help?
The attorney can fax and mail this specialized restraining order to the U.S. Passport Office. This agency will red-flag any attempt by a parent to obtain a passport and will notify the attorney, will prevent issuance of a passport and will prevent use of an existing passport.
If there is a parental abduction, what steps should the parent take?
1. Call the police and make a report.
2. Call the attorney so the court can be immediately involved in retrieval of the children.
3. Call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678.