Tips on preventing parental abduction of children

Learn about some useful tips that can help prevent parental abduction of a child before it can happen.

Parental abduction is a phenomenon that afflicts more than a few families in the Denver area, and it can be very stressful. When a child is taken by one of the parents and hidden from the parent who is the designated guardian, or the guardian is in some other way forcibly barred from being able to access the child, it is considered parental abduction. There are many steps that can be taken in order to avoid this kind of abduction.

Law enforcement agencies are ready to respond

One thing that is important for every parent to be aware of is that parental abduction is a crime that is treated seriously by the FBI. The FBI defines a missing child as any child who cannot be located by the legal parent or guardian, according to the 1982 Missing Child Act. If two parents, or a child's custodian and a risky parent are arguing over who should have the custody of a child, one way to safeguard against potential abduction is to make sure that the parent who could potentially abduct the child knows that it would be considered illegal.

Knowing that an action they are considering is illegal can deter many would-be abductors. It is important for custodians to remember that the borders of the U.S. mark the limits of the FBI's investigative jurisdiction, and to be wary if a risky parent is attempting to travel out of the country with the child at risk.

Take necessary precautions in the case of international travel

Sometimes, there are possible scenarios that arise where a child could be abducted while traveling outside of the country or taken to the risky parent's country of origin without the custodial parent or guardian's permission. The U.S. Department of State offers the following list of tips to help prevent that from happening:

  • A good strategy with passports is to have a third party who is neutral and trustworthy to hold the passports and accompany the parent and child when they travel.
  • Potential red flags of an impending parental abduction include selling the house, closing bank accounts, or quitting a job. It is important to be alert of these kinds of changes.
  • The beginning and end dates of the trip the parent is taking with the child should be made very plain and documented clearly.
  • A passport is a way of tracing a person who is traveling outside the country. Because of this, knowing if the child has a dual-citizenship in a country where the parent has a citizenship is an important precaution.

Additionally, the Department of State says that any prompt reporting of a parental child abduction threat is important.

In legal matters concerning children, there are proper actions that can be taken. Consulting a knowledgeable family lawyer in Colorado is a good first step in such cases.