When parents think about a child being kidnapped, they often think of a stranger in a van luring the child in to take them away. In reality, child abductions by strangers are extremely rare. Unfortunately, most child abductions or kidnappings involve someone the child may know, including a child's own parent.
Parental kidnapping in North Carolina is often the result of a contentious child custody battle or divorce. One parent cannot deprive the other parent of contact or visitation on their own. If your ex is violating a parenting order and takes your child away without telling you where the child is, you should contact North Carolina family law attorneys at Caulder & Valentine Law Firm, PLLC as soon as possible to protect your child and your parenting rights.
What is Parental Kidnapping?
According to the Polly Klaas Foundation, over 200,000 children in the U.S. are abducted each year by a family member, usually a parent. Family and parent abductions account for 78% of all missing children. A survey by the U.S. Department of Justice shows that more than 50% of family abducted children were abducted by their biological father and 25% were abducted by their biological mother.
It may not be immediately obvious that the other parent is engaged in child abduction. Family abduction is taking or keeping a child by a family member in violation of a custody order or custodial rights through some element of concealment, flight, or intent to deprive the other lawful custodian indefinitely.
To Protect the Child
Parents may take a child away from the other parent for a number of reasons. In rare cases, the other parent may fear for the child's safety if the other spouse is violent or abusive. Whenever a parent fears abuse or harm from the other spouse, he or she should seek court protections instead of taking matters into their own hands. Self-help could result in contempt charges or even criminal kidnapping charges.
To Hurt the Parent or Get Revenge
Many child abductions by family members are motivated by revenge or trying to hurt the other parent. They may be angry at the other parent for getting a divorce, having an affair, or trying to keep the parent from harming the child. Family abductors may have a history of domestic violence, substance abuse, or mental illness. Parents may also try and use parental kidnapping to force continued interaction or negotiate reconciliation.
Protecting Your Child from Parental Kidnapping
If the other parent ever makes a threat, comment, or suggestion that he or she could take the child away, you should consider getting the police or courts involved. Parental abductions often involve threats to flee with a child before the parent goes through with the threat.
There are a number of laws to help address the issue of parental kidnapping. The Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act (PKPA), provides for child custody case conflicts between states so that the child's home state governs child custody and visitation.
International child abductions can be more complicated and depend on the relationship between the U.S. and other countries where the child has been taken. The Hague Abduction Convention provides for a civil process international parental abduction cases to protect children involved in parental kidnapping.
Child Custody Disputes and Abduction in Shelby
At Caulder & Valentine Law Firm, PLLC, we have helped parents protect their children in child custody disputes where a parent abducted their child. For child custody and resolving parental kidnapping in Shelby, Gaston County, and across North Carolina, contact us today for a consultation.