Parental Abduction: How Likely Is It?

During a divorce, emotions run high and may overwhelm reason and good judgement, especially when children are involved. Sometimes during a turbulent custody battle, one parent may lose their perspective of the situation and decide to abduct the child. This is never a wise decision.

While it is better to settle things in court with an attorney or mediator, sometimes a parent may engage in illegal practices and try to take their child. How do you know if you and your child are at risk?

Generally, parental abductions are emotional and impulsive decisions. Many times, the abductor is afraid he or she may lose all visitation rights and custody, and they see an abduction as a last resort and a good course of action. In fact, about 8 out of 10 parents who decide to abduct their child do so with the intent to permanently change custodial privileges.

One course of action is to obtain an enforceable parenting plan to mobilize law enforcement, if necessary. However, you need to act quickly in getting the enforceable parenting plan to prevent this type of scenario from happening.

If a parental abduction does occur, it is not all bad news. About 94% of all children who are abducted by one parent are eventually returned to the legal custodian. Even with such an encouraging statistic, the mere thought of their child being abducted would frighten any parent. They want their child safe, and to have a normal life before, during and after the divorce takes place.

If you are concerned about a parental abduction by your ex-spouse or another relative, especially if someone has made threats, speak with your attorney right away. The types of threats to be alarmed about are when threats are made to not return the child, and if they actually withhold the child from the other parent or relative. It is important to discuss what can be done to mitigate the possibility of this happening.