Parental kidnapping is a serious offense and one that many parents worry will affect them and their children. It happens when a child is taken by one parent who withholds custody and visitation from the other without a court order. They might hide the child, continue to withhold custody by enrolling them in activities that cut into the other parents’ time or even go as far as to flee the state or country.
Parental kidnapping hurts the relationship between the child and the affected parent. Fortunately, you can look for red flags that may show that the other parent is preparing to withhold custody from you.
- Your child suddenly talks about an upcoming trip
One of the first red flags is finding out about a trip you didn’t know about. If that trip overlaps with your parenting time or you have a no-travel order, it’s important to bring up your concerns with the other parent immediately and to contact your attorney if you sense a problem.
- You find your child’s passport
If you never agreed to get your child a passport and they have one in their bags, then that should be a major red flag. There is a chance that the other parent got it in preparation for a vacation in the future, for example, but this is something you should have known about. At the very least, make time for a conversation about that passport and, in the meantime, consider holding onto it.
- The other parent is threatening to withhold custody
Sometimes, the most obvious red flags are the biggest ones. If the other parent is making threats or alluding to how they’re going to withhold custody, now is the time to take action. You may want to reach out to your attorney to discuss your concerns or return to court to prevent the other parent from leaving the area with your child.
These are a few things to look for if you are concerned about parental kidnapping. If you look for the signs, you may be able to take action to prevent kidnapping from happening and to make sure your children are kept safe at home.