When your ex-spouse isn’t following your court-ordered custody schedule and you have to nag them to bring your children home, that’s a big red flag that there could be something more serious about to occur. Parental kidnapping is an issue that some parents end up dealing with when a parent who is unhappy with a custody agreement decides to take the law into their own hands.
With parental kidnapping, the parent who wants to keep the children away from the other parent may flee with those children and refuse to return them to the other parent. They may stay within or go outside of the United States.
It’s important for you to know the signs that parental kidnapping could occur so that you can protect your children against it.
What is parental kidnapping?
Parental kidnapping is when one parent takes their children, without permission, away from the other parent with no intention of returning them. They may take them to an undisclosed place nearby or far away. In any case, the victimized parent does not know where their children are and may have little or no contact with them by phone or other digital means.
What are the signs of a potential parental kidnapping?
Parental kidnapping doesn’t usually happen out of nowhere. There tend to be signs that you can look for. For example, the other parent may:
- Suddenly get your children passports or visas for another country
- Get copies of important documents for your children, such as medical or school records
- Consistently bring your children home late or refuse to bring them back on time
- Threaten that they will take your kids away from you
- Have no job or be independently wealthy
- Have the ability to flee to other cities, states or countries with community support
If there are red flags in your parenting relationship and you know that the other parent has the ability to flee with your kids, you may want to look into a custody modification. You may build a case and ask that the custody time with your children is supervised, for example, so that you can better protect your children.
If you suspect that the parent has kidnapped your children, call 911 and alert the authorities. Then, get to know more about your legal rights to bring them home.