Emotions run especially high during custody battles. Although not extremely common, child abduction by a family member does happen. For the parent left behind, the uncertainty of their child's whereabouts, and fear for their safety can be petrifying. Understandably so, many times the first thing a parent in this situation does, is reach for the phone.
Distraught parents often look to law enforcement for help locating their children and returning them to safety. As this course of action is the most appropriate for cases of domestic violence and kidnapping, certain situations in regard to family abduction leave some law enforcement reluctant to intervene.
Over half of family abductions are committed by the biological father who is not the custodial parent. While these children are considered to have been abducted, in cases where the custodial parent knows their whereabouts, they are not considered to be missing. Likewise, there are several different categories of family abduction that, depending on what the situation is, may change the actions and involvement of law enforcement. Cases, where children are taken or kept in violation of a custody order, may be handled differently than cases where a noncustodial parent transports a child out of state or conceals a child's whereabouts. Where certain child abduction cases may be handled by law enforcement, there are some situations that require the help of an attorney and the family court.
Having a clear understanding of your rights as a custodial parent, as well as having the help of an experienced family law attorney can keep you informed, and your children safe. Although it is always appropriate to report a violation of custody to law enforcement, being equipped to take the next step to secure their return is equally important.