Parental kidnapping can be a serious concern in divorce cases where the parents don’t get along. Your child may be caught in the middle of a dispute, which could put them at risk of being kidnapped by the other parent.
Parental kidnapping happens when one parent prevents the other parent from exercising their custodial rights. This may also be called custodial interference or a parent-child abduction. By any name, it’s a significant issue that could result in damage to the relationship bonds that the child has established.
There are usually signs that parental kidnapping could occur. Here are four red flags to watch out for.
- The other parent got your child a passport
If you didn’t talk to each other about getting a passport for your child, the sudden need for one should signal that something isn’t right. Ask the other parent about the passport, and if necessary, talk to your attorney about preventing your child from leaving the state or country.
- The other parent has threatened your custody time
If the other parent has outright stated that they will withhold custody, it’s time to talk to the court again. Using threats like these could mean that an escalation is possible in the future.
- Your child mentions a trip you didn’t know about
Your child may also bring up that they are going on a trip. If you didn’t know that they were going or your child told you that the other parent said not to let you know about it, then you should look into your legal options quickly.
- The other parent has started requesting copies of all important paperwork
Finally, if the other parent has started to request copies of school transcripts, medical documents or other important documents, make sure you know why. These documents would be essential to establish your child in another region or country.
If you see red flags that parental kidnapping could occur, don’t be scared to bring them up. You can take steps to prevent your child from being withheld from you. There may be legal options, like supervised visitation, that could help.