How do I stop an international parental abduction?

When it comes to hashing out custodial rights in Michigan, few parents are 100 percent satisfied with the final ruling. This may especially be the case for parents who are not awarded the primary custodial rights.

Unfortunately, some disgruntled parents may respond by making a run for it and taking the child to another country. If you suspect that a parental abduction may be taking place, it is important to act quickly. Here are some recommendations from the U.S. government on how to stop a parental abduction in progress.

Obtain a court order

Your first instinct may be to contact the police. However, without a court order, your claims may not hold up. After all, a parent does have the right to take a child overseas on vacation or to visit with relatives. Because of this, there may be nothing law enforcement can do to prevent the abduction, unless there is a court order in place that prohibits the minor child’s removal from the state, country or the court’s jurisdiction.

Get law enforcement involved

Now that you have the necessary paperwork, you can contact law enforcement and get them involved. Here are some tips you may want to follow when working with law enforcement toward the safe return of your child:

  •          Always get the full name and contact information for the officer you work with.
  •          Ask for the same information of a backup officer you can reach instead, just in case.
  •          Ask that your child be entered as a missing person in the National Crime Information Center as soon as possible.
  •          Contact the airport police to inform them of the court order and the situation at hand.

Contact airlines

When you call the airline, ask to speak directly with the airline corporate security officer. This may be the person in the best position to either provide you with answers or stop your child from boarding a flight. Naturally, you will be asked to provide proof of parental relationship to the child.

The best time to rectify an international abduction is before it happens or while it is in progress. There might be opportunities for recourse even after the child has left U.S. soil, but the process is riddled with risk and uncertainty, so the sooner you act, the better.

This article aims to educate parents and guardians about international parental abduction and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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