Denver, Colo. – The U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary recently had a hearing on “Helping Law Enforcement Find Missing Children”. A shocking statistic the president of The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) shared is that, “most of the AMBER alerts in the last four years were issued for children who were abducted by family members.” Most of the abductions involve a biological parent that does not have legal custody of the child or a close relative.
In these dire circumstances, immediate legal action is needed to protect the child’s interests. Child abduction “violates the legal rights of the child’s custodial parent or guardian,” says Ernie Allen, the NCMEC president. The abductor oftentimes moves the child to a different city or country. He or she sometimes tries to evade authorities by changing the child’s name, removing the child from school, or forcing the child to lie about their situation.
A family law attorney can help the other parent obtain an emergency order requiring the abductor to return the child or face imprisonment. Since the location of the abductor and child is usually not known, the order makes it possible to then publish notice of a lawsuit against the suspect. This is also vital to prevent the abductor from getting a custody determination in another jurisdiction or country, and enforce the plaintiff’s custody order. Then, the individual can charge the abductor with damages resulting from the abduction. Depending on the severity of the abduction and aftermath, civil and criminal charges may apply.
After the child is found, there are steps to take to prevent a repeat abduction. Family law attorneys can modify and limit visitation rights and add prevention provisions, such as unauthorized school pick up, to a custody agreement to lessen the risk. It is highly recommended to give official copies of any modified custody order to the child’s teachers, daycare providers, and babysitters.
Thode Law Firm P.C. specializes in family law litigation and has more than a decade of experience in family law and litigation matters. They are well-versed in the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act, Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act, as well as federal and state criminal-custodial interference laws, and child abduction lawsuits.
For more information:
201 Steele Street, Suite 201
Denver, CO 80206