For all of your ex’s flaws, you never believed they’d be capable of taking your child and not returning them. Now you’re not so sure. Something about them has changed. They seem more stressed out, worried or angry than usual.
It’s been a long, difficult year. The upcoming holidays don’t necessarily promise a time of joy for everyone. Some people are acting out in ways they (and those around them) never thought possible.
What causes people to kidnap their children?
A number of things can lead to a parent abducting their child. For example:
- They’re afraid of losing custody or visitation rights or feel they’ve been given a raw deal by the court.
- They’re angry at their co-parent and want to hurt them.
- They may do it as a twisted way to get attention and even bring about a reconciliation.
- They believe (correctly or incorrectly) their child is in danger with their other parent.
- When is parental abduction more likely?
Don’t ignore these potential signs that your co-parent could resort to something drastic:
- They don’t have a strong support system or job and seem to feel alienated or alone.
- They don’t have strong ties to their (or your shared) community.
- They’re from another country and/or have family outside the U.S.
- They’ve been requesting or obtaining copies of your child’s medical and/or school records.
- They’ve been closing accounts, selling their home or quitting their job.
- They’ve attempted to get a passport for your child.
Desperation and frustration are leading causes of parental kidnapping. It’s best not to give your co-parent reason to believe you’d try to keep their child from them. Further, parents who abduct their own children often rely on their family members for help. Making an effort to maintain an amicable relationship with them can help prevent rash actions. The Polly Klaas Foundation provides a great deal of useful information to help you keep your child safe. It’s worthwhile for any parent, regardless of their marital status.
What can you do if you’re worried about parental abductions?
If you’re still working out your custody and visitation agreement and have some concerns about parental abduction, you need to speak up. Let your attorney know so that they can help you work some needed provisions into your plan. The sooner you get it completed, the easier it will be to assert your rights and get law enforcement involved should you need to.