Parental abductions of a child are probably far more common than most people realize. They’re particularly a concern when one parent has made threats, has removed a child from the state or country in the past or maintains close cultural and familial ties in another area of the world.
If you’re living in fear that your child’s other parent may “grab and run” to another state or country, the court can take action to help prevent this. If the judge agrees that you have a right to be concerned, the court may:
- Require written consent from both parents for the child to travel out of state
- Deny permission for the child to visit a country that is not a participant in the Hague Convention agreement regarding international child abductions
- Require that the child’s passport be surrendered to the care of the court
- Require the suspect parent to post a significant cash bond as a deterrent that would be forfeit if an abduction does occur
- Put obligations on the other parent to provide contact and travel information whenever the child is permitted to go with them outside the local area
- Limit the noncustodial parent’s ability to approach the child anywhere outside of the scheduled visitation area or time (like at school or on a playground)
- Imposed supervised visitation on the suspect parent for as long as the court sees fit
Naturally, the courts are reluctant to impose these kinds of restrictions on a parent without credible evidence that they have or may yet be considering abducting your child in violation of your custody agreement and the law. If you have concerns, it’s smart to talk them over with an attorney as soon as possible so that you know what steps you should take next.