Did you know that a parent can kidnap their own children? Parental kidnapping, also known as custodial interference, happens when one parent takes the children and prevents the other parent from seeing or interacting with them. In most cases, such incidents arise shortly after divorce or within the divorce proceedings.
While most parents don’t have to worry about parental kidnapping, you may need to be on the lookout, especially if you and your co-parent are not seeing eye to eye.
Potential warning signs
Parents have varying motives for kidnapping their children. They include revenge, fear of isolation, or even custody disagreements. Some of the signs to watch out for are:
- A history of kidnapping attempts or veiled threats by your co-parent
- Expression of dissatisfaction with the current custody arrangements
- A sudden interest in the children’s travel documents
- Accusations of abuse by your co-parent
All these are potential red flags of parental kidnapping, and you need to take action as soon as you notice them.
What should you do?
Is there an existing custody order? If there is a court-issued order, you may have it enforced or even modified to limit the other parent’s custody. They could also be held in contempt of court if they violate custody orders by denying you access to the children.
It may be tricky if no formal custody orders are in place since that cannot be considered parental kidnapping. In such a case, you may need to seek an emergency order if it is established that your co-parent is moving the children out of state to avoid court jurisdiction.
Protect your child
It is important to anticipate such a situation and protect your children’s welfare. Parental kidnapping is not in their best interests, and the earlier you act, the better.