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.
Family law matters can get complex and emotional for parents in Florida and other states across the nation. Even when a custody agreement is reached, the divorced or separated parents may not see eye-to-eye. This could result in some taking action in a drastic manner, such as abducting a child and leaving the state or country without the knowledge or consent of the other parent.
It is nothing short of terrifying to discover that your child has been taken out of the country by his or her other parent in violation of a court-ordered custody arrangement. Yet, given the complexities of the situation, it can be difficult to figure out where to even start seeking the child's return. As we discussed in a previous post, the Hague Convention is the best tool to seek the return of a child who has been subjected to international abduction, but the return is not automatic.
Recently on the blog we discussed how the Hague Convention can be utilized to address matters of international child abduction. Successful utilization of this international law is crucial for those who are facing the unthinkable. Those whose children have been taken to another state or another country in contradiction of an existing child custody order are often afraid for their children's well-being and don't know where to turn for help. Although law enforcement's efforts may be beneficial, they are often confined within the bounds of their jurisdiction.
Child custody arrangements can vary greatly case-by-case. In some instances, parents share time equally with their children, while other families see a custodial parent who significantly restricts a noncustodial parent's access. In today's highly mobile society, it isn't uncommon for custodial parents to seek to relocate with their children, which may not be inline with an established custody plan. Although these parents may be able to get court authorization for one of these moves, sometimes parents take their children across state lines or across international borders with the intent of disrupting a child custody arrangement. When this happens, abduction has occurred.
Parents in Florida can go through a lot to reach a child custody and visitation arrangement that they feel meets their child's needs. While some of these issues can be hashed out during negotiations, sometimes they require litigation. Unlike other divorce legal issues, though, child custody disputes can arise a long time after they were initially settled. When one parent fails to abide by a court order regarding child custody and visitation, then child abduction may have occurred.