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What if my child's other parent abducts him or her?

As a parent, there are few things more infuriating or frightening than the possibility of your child's other parent abducting him or her and exiting your life without your permission. If a parent suspects that his or her child's other parent may abduct him or her soon, or if he or she discovers an abduction is in progress, responding quickly and decisively is key.

While it may seem surprising, in some cases law enforcement cannot pursue a child abduction by another parent if you do not first obtain a court order allowing them to do so. Many parents forget this important step in the rush to prevent the abduction. If you face this circumstance, you can contact an attorney to help you request the court order and make sure that you understand everything you must do to secure it.

If you have yet to contact law enforcement, you should do so as soon as you have the court order. This is particularly crucial if you suspect that the other parent may attempt to take the child out of the country. With a court order, law enforcement can pursue the other parent for abduction and list the child as a missing person with the National Crime Information Center (NCIC).

You may also want to reach out to airlines and airport security. Many international abductions occur through air travel, which is a blessing and a curse. If the child does leave the country by airplane, he or she may go somewhere where it is very difficult to retrieve him or her. However, if you can successfully alert the airport where the abduction takes place, it is a useful bottleneck with a number of security bottlenecks.

If you believe that your child's other parent is abducting him or her, alert the police to the situation immediately and reach out to an attorney who can help guide you through the process of rescuing the child you love.

Source: International Parental Child Abduction, "Steps to Stopping an Abduction in Progress," accessed Oct. 13, 2017

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