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Parental kidnapping can be prevented and responded to by parents

Parental kidnapping is something some parents worry about extensively following a divorce. If your ex has threatened kidnapping or refuses to return your children following a visit, then you may be a victim of parental kidnapping.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigated 653 cases of parental abductions domestically between 2000 and 2007, according to a 2009 data set. That report showed that most of the children were returned home, which is good news for those worried about their own children going missing. The bad news is that not all children make it back to the custodial parent. Even if they're safe with the noncustodial parent, the abduction is a violation of the court order.

If you are worried about this happening in your situation, there are a few tips you can follow to keep your kids safe. First, always pay attention to what they say before, during and after visits with the other parent. If you get a call during the visit that sounds unusual, don't hesitate to respond to your child. He or she may be trying to tell you that something's wrong. If you can't talk to your ex and locate your child for confirmation of his or her whereabouts, then call the police. This starts a paper trail you'll need in court. After that, call the court and let the court know the parent is in violation of the custody order. The police may not take steps to retrieve your child immediately until they receive the authority to do so from the local courts.

Your attorney can help you file the correct documents if you find your child has gone missing or that your ex has violated the custody orders that are in place. The courts want to see both parents do what's in the best interest of their children, and violating orders is not.

Source: The Spruce, "How to Respond to – & Prevent – Parental Kidnapping," Jennifer Wolf, accessed July 11, 2017

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