Divorces can get messy, and probably none are messier than those dealing with hotly contested custody battles. When both parents want the kids with them 100% of the time, it can be quite challenging to find workable solutions to the problem.
Sometimes, one parent may decide that they don’t want the courts or their ex involved in the custody decisions regarding the children. They could then decide that both their and the child’s needs would be better served to abduct their child and rear them far away from their other parent.
Is your child at risk of parental abduction?
While it is typically true that kids are at lower risk of physical harm when abducted by their biological parent than a stranger, the mental and emotional costs can still be severe. Below are some warning signs your child could be at risk of parental abduction:
- They have threatened to do this in the past. While some threats may be empty, others are not. Roughly 5% of all child abductions involve their other parent or another family member.
- They hold citizenship in another country. This may not have been a red flag when the relationship was good, but it increases the chances of parental abduction following a messy custody battle.
- The custody terms are deemed unfavorable to the other parent. Don’t let your guard down once the custody ruling is handed down. Your child could actually be at high risk then.
- Your child’s passport or birth certificate goes missing. These items are vital for international travel, so take their disappearance seriously.
- Your ex faces criminal charges. Those with nothing left to lose can be incredibly dangerous and unstable. They may figure that it’s worth it to abduct their child.
These are not the only signs to be aware of, but they are indeed red flags. Alert your family law attorney and the proper authorities immediately if you suspect parental abduction is imminent.