During a child custody battle, it is every parent’s worst nightmare: your ex doesn’t return your children from a visitation, or takes them from you when you least expect it. Although it seems like the plot to a television drama, it is more common than you might think: each year, according to the Department of Justice, an estimated 56,500 children are reported illegally taken by a family member. In fact, 82 percent of all kidnappings in the United States involve a family member of the child, usually the father or mother.

How can a parent kidnap his or her own child?

It is absolutely possible for a parent to kidnap their own child, even if the parent has some custody rights. It is extremely important to understand your child’s custody order and all rules related to your parenting plan. If the other parent violates child visitation rules, leaves the state or country with your children, or keeps you from seeing your children, he or she may well be breaking the law.

How do I know if my child is at risk?

Many child abductions happen for the same reason: a parent is frustrated and angry with the other parent or with authorities regarding child custody, child support, or child visitation. These feelings could be agitated further by mental health issues, addiction issues, and anger issues. Child abductions are more common when the abductor has family in another area (or country), if nothing is keeping the abductor in your community (such as a job or home), or when the abductor has made threats of abduction.

What should I do if I believe my children have been abducted by a family member?

If you believe that an abduction is in progress, call the police immediately. If you see concrete warning signs of abduction—plane tickets, packed luggage, recent passports, serious threats of kidnapping—you should also act immediately by alerting local authorities. In addition, you may wish to speak with your attorney and the court.

Who can help me with my child custody issue in Washington State?

Speak with a Bellevue child custody attorney by calling the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny today at 425-460-0550. We’re here to help.

Molly B. Kenny
Connect with me
Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington