One of the most frightening things for parents to contemplate is the abduction of their children. Even if the potential abductor is the children’s other parent, your child(ren) could be taken far away from your loving arms and legal jurisdiction.
With that in mind, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children offers the following signs that your co-parent could be planning a parental abduction:
- The individual is wealthy, financially independent or able to find work anywhere
- The co-parent has a criminal rap sheet
- The co-parent has previously threatened to take your children away from you
- The individual has ties to another country, state or region than their present residence
- In the relationship, there exists a prior history of child abuse, domestic violence, instability between partners, little cooperation between co-parents
- The co-parent recently altered their appearance
- The co-parent is engaged in activities like selling property, seeking passports, making travel arrangements unexpectedly or destroying important documents
What should you do if you suspect a problem?
None of these things individually show an intent to commit a parental abduction. Taken as a whole, however, they can be enhanced risk factors of a pending abduction. It should also be noted that parental abductions occur without any of these precursors present.
If you are suspicious that your co-parent is planning to abduct your child and remove them from your jurisdiction, you need to be proactive. That can include alerting the authorities and the school or daycare your child attends about your concerns.
If an abduction has occurred
Act immediately, as time is of the essence. Contact the proper local, national and international authorities. You might also want to delve into your legal options regarding Hague Convention cases.