When you have children, you worry about them. Sometimes your worries are rational and sometimes irrational. Every parent has worried about their child being kidnapped and usually the fear is one of a stranger kidnapping. The fact is, however, that children are more likely to be kidnapped by someone whom they know well – a parent.
Kidnapping by a parent is rare as well, but may occur as the result of a divorce or custody dispute. It may be motivated by a fear of losing custody, to punish the other parent or that the children will be abused by the other parent. If a parent is willing to take this drastic action, the result may be physical or mental harm. While the vast majority of divorce cases do not involve parental kidnapping, it is important to be aware in case your circumstances lend you to believe this is a possibility for you.
The Sooner You Act, The Better
One of the biggest obstacles when there is a parental kidnapping is that there is a perception that if the children are with a parent they are assumed to be safe. This is not always the case. However, law enforcement and often courts are often reluctant to enforce the laws against the parent who kidnapped the children.
Your attorney should be made aware of any concerns you have about the other parent’s potential to take this drastic action. If it happens, your attorney can request emergency relief from the court in the form of a temporary order which law enforcement must enforce. Your family law attorney is your best advocate and will understand the risks involved and the methods of possible resolution.
While criminal court judges are sometimes hesitant to criminally sanction parents for parental kidnapping, family court judges typically take the issue of parental kidnapping and other interference with parenting time very seriously. The interference will be a big factor in any divorce or custody proceeding.
Ultimately, parental kidnapping is a very unlikely scenario, but if you fear it is possible – let your attorney know immediately so they can work on a strategy to avoid it.