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Parental kidnapping red flags need to trigger an investigation

When you are trying your best to co-parent your child, one of the things that could make you frustrated is seeing the other parent try to control or restrict your access to your child.

You want to do what’s best for your child by sharing joint custody and allowing the other parent to remain a part of their life, but with the way they’re acting, you aren’t sure that you’ll be able to do that in the long-term.

You’re having regular arguments, and they keep threatening to withhold custody completely. Each time they’re supposed to bring your child home, they’re late.

Watching for the red flags before a parental kidnapping

A parental kidnapping is a kidnapping in which a parent takes their child away from the other parent against court orders. This could refer to withholding custody or going as far as to leave the country with a child.

There are usually some red flags that come up before a parental kidnapping happens. These may include:

  • Repeated missed drop-off times
  • Calls or communication saying your child isn’t coming back on time or at all that day
  • Excuses for missing visitation times, like claiming your child “isn’t feeling well”
  • Suddenly seeking copies of important educational or medical documents
  • Finding out that your ex has scheduled travel with your child without informing you
  • Finding out that your child has a passport you didn’t know about

If your child tells you that the other parent has promised them a vacation that is against your custody orders or you discover that they have a passport that you didn’t know had been purchased, it’s time to start taking action.

Investigating signs that the other parent may be getting ready to flee with your child is essential. You may want to talk to an attorney about seeking a child custody modification or an emergency custody order to keep your children with you until the situation is resolved. If your children aren’t returned to you on time and you think they’ve been taken by the other parent, call 911 to report them missing and then look into taking legal action.

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