Parental kidnapping is a huge issue in many child custody cases. Unfortunately, it is also more common than you think. According to the Polly Klaas Foundation, over 200,000 kids are abducted every single year, typically by the parent. Bearing this in mind, if you strongly suspect that the other parent of your child would try to kidnap your child, you need to take the necessary steps to prevent it from happening:
- Keep records of personally identifying information on the other parent and your child so you could easily provide law enforcement with the necessary information about them should kidnapping occur. It’s likewise a great idea to take color photos of your child at least every six months and records of the other parent’s license plate numbers, IDs, and bank details if possible.
- Make sure to include anti-kidnapping measures in your custody order such as strictly supervised visitation, or requiring you and the other parent to post bonds, advises a top child custody lawyer in Kent. You could also consider getting a court order authorizing the police to get involved if the other parent attempts to commit custodial interference. You could likewise file the court order in the state where the other parent lives if you live in different states, and inform the daycare or school of your child about the court order.
- If possible, ensure that your child knows all your contact numbers and teach your child to use the phone, including making collect calls. Tell your child to call you (or another trusted individual if you don’t answer) as soon as possible if something weird occurs or if he or she feels uncomfortable under the other parent’s care.
- Impose specific travel restrictions. Your custody order could include specific rules about your child not being allowed to leave the country, state, or county without your permission. If you are concerned about the possibility of international kidnapping, consider including The Hague Convention on International Child Abduction terms in your custody order and informing your State Department about it.
It is, however, important to keep in mind that being concerned of parental kidnapping does not automatically mean that your child is, in reality, in immediate danger. However, remember too that only you could determine if the behavior of the other parent and your fears require further actions. That said when in doubt, don’t hesitate to call law enforcement and your family lawyer.