What is parental kidnapping and what should you do if it happens?
Parental kidnapping is essentially what it sounds like and is no different from any other kind of kidnapping. In this case, a parent is seeking to take the children away from their legal guardian, hold them secretly, and prevent you from asserting your parenting rights.
Colorado passed an act which attempts to address a parental kidnapping scenario before it can escalate to a child being taken from their legal parent. The best thing to do if you suspect that a parent is going to kidnap a child or children is be proactive. In this situation, it is in your best interest to get information together in order to seek relief from the court. In other words, if you believe that the other parent is making plans to move the children, to kidnap them, or to take them away, you should consider proactively hiring an attorney and taking affirmative action.
Factors of Consideration and Protections for Proactive Action:
Factors that the court looks at when evaluating kidnapping risk to a child include whether:
- Passports have been attained for the children
- Travel arrangements have been made for the children
- A parent has quit a job
- A parent has closed a bank account
- A parent has terminated a lease
- Engaged in activities that make it apparent or likely that that person is planning to leave this area
If you believe that any of these factors apply to your family, then you can file a motion for abduction prevention with the court. This allows you to ask the court to take certain measures to prevent that person from leaving with the children.
In many cases a parent is concerned that the other parent might take the children outside of the United States into a foreign country. In this scenario, you can ask the court to enter orders that would make it very difficult for a parent to do this. This type of court action would prevent the parent from leaving the United States with the children. Once an order is obtained, this allows you to notify federal authorities to prevent the child from being kidnapped and taken out of the country. The challenge in these cases is finding the person who you think is going to flee with the children, then serving them with the order that’s designed to prevent parental kidnapping prior to the event occuring.
Challenges with Child Kidnapping Prevention
Following the court approval of your case that your child is at risk of parental kidnapping and flight, the challenge remains in physically presenting this to the other party. You will have to find the person and serve them with the paperwork. That’s one of the most problematic aspects with parental kidnapping; locating that person in order to serve them with the paperwork. This is commonly due to them taking actions in order to not be found. If you’re able to successfully locate the person, serve them with the motion and notice to appear, you can then have an evidentiary hearing before the court. and The court will then issue orders that are designed to prevent the person from kidnapping the children and enforce the current parenting arrangement.
We can help. If you or someone you know suspects that their child is at risk of kidnapping, please give me a call. Or, come in and see me and we’ll discuss what steps we can take to act quickly and effectively. We can help guide you through the process of what to do when dealing with parental kidnapping.