A Parent’s Worst Nightmare: Preventing Family Child Abductions

10 May

Preventing an Abduction

  • Go to court and obtain a custody determination specifically defining custody and visitation rights and clearly stating the basis for the court’s jurisdiction and manner in which notice and opportunity to be heard were given to the parties.
  • If there is a risk of abduction, ask the court to include prevention measures in the custody order. Provide the court with evidence establishing a credible risk of abduction in your case, and request prevention measures tailored to your case.
  • By way of example, abduction risk factors include past abductions or abduction threats, lack of economic or familial ties to a child’s home state, and evidence of abduction planning activities.
  • Check laws in your jurisdiction for abduction-prevention statutes. A few jurisdictions already have such laws and others may soon enact the recently completed Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act. In the absence of specific prevention statutes, judges may enter prevention orders to protect children.
  • Abduction-prevention measures include supervised visitation, posting a bond, entering a child’s name in the Passport Issuance Alert Program, and surrendering a child’s passport(s) to the court. Parents can take precautionary measures to reduce the risk of abduction. Some examples are to notify your child’s school or daycare of custody orders, flag passport applications for your child, and teach your child to use the telephone to call for help.

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