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Preventing Child Abduction During a Divorce

Although it’s rare, in some cases a custodial parent might be worried his or her former partner will attempt to kidnap their children, whether during a visit or at some other time.

If you believe there is any chance of this occurring, there are steps you can take to prevent it, while also preparing yourself for the worst-case scenario:

  • Keep records of the most up-to-date contact information available for the other parent and his or her friends, relatives and business associates.
  • Keep a record of important identifying information on the other parent, including a recent photograph, physical description, passport number (or copy of the passport), driver’s license number, Social Security number, bank information, a description of his or her vehicle and license plate number.
  • Have recent photographs of your children and current physical descriptions, including eye and hair color, weight, height and other identifying characteristics.
  • Take your children to the local police department and have them fingerprinted. Your police department can then transmit these prints to other states or countries in a potential abduction scenario.
  • Make sure your children know how to use the phone and have your phone number memorized. Teach them to call you immediately if they are scared or if anything strange happens. You can also teach them another person’s phone number if they are unable to reach you.
  • If you have a particularly strong suspicion that your former partner may be planning an abduction, consider speaking with a law enforcement officer, the court or an attorney to get advice on how to proceed. Do not attempt interfere with visitation periods on your own.
  • You can also make an emergency application to the Court to prevent a parent from removing the children from the jurisdiction of the Court.

For further legal guidance on this important issue for parents, consult a dedicated child custody attorney with Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia, LLP.