Taking Action

Get Answers Start Your Divorce Stop Your Divorce Divorce Forms Online Support DivorceDesk

Divorce Tools

Online Divorce Online Negotiation Custody Tracker Custody Evaluation QDRO Preparation Divorce Calendar SEE ALL

Info Categories

Contemplating Divorce Children & Divorce Divorce, Dollars & Debt Divorce Laws Divorce Process Divorce Negotiation SEE ALL

State Resources

California Florida Illinois New York Texas SEE ALL

More Information

Articles Checklists Research Center Cases of Interest Dictionary Encyclopedia Encyclopedia (pop-up) Blogs

For Professionals

Generate Clients Free Network Page Submit Articles Case Management Sign In

The Divorce Encyclopedia
Abduction (of child)


Term Definition Abduction (of child) - the act of one parent, often the noncustodial parent, illegally taking or removing a child in violation of a court order, either across state lines and abroad or both.
Application in Divorce Child abduction is always a serious issue in any highly contested child custody case. Of the thousands of missing children each year, many are abducted by one of the parents after a bitter divorce. Most custodial parents fear child abduction by an angry former spouse.

Parental kidnapping of children is nothing new. Two of the surviving children of the wreck of the Titanic were being kidnapped by their father.

Parental kidnapping is a crime. According to the Department of Justice, some 200,000 children were kidnapped by a family member in 2002. Some of these children disappeared in America; some were taken abroad.

The Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act (PKPA) requires states to cooperate with each other in returning kidnapped children when the child custody judgments of sister states are consistent with the provisions of the act.

Unfortunately in cases of international abduction, United States laws and court orders are not automatically recognized abroad and therefore are not directly enforceable there. Each country has jurisdiction within its own territory and over people within its borders. No country can tell another country how to decide cases or enforce laws. Just as foreign court orders are not automatically enforceable in the United States, United States court orders are not automatically enforceable abroad.

At the Hague Conference on Private International Law in 1976, 23 nations agreed to draft a treaty to deter international child abduction. Between 1976 and 1980, the United States was a major force in preparing and negotiating the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Convention or the Convention). The Convention was incorporated into U.S. law and came into force for the United States on July 1, 1988. The enabling legislation for Hague Convention is the International Child Abduction Remedies Act (ICARA), 42 U.S.C. 11601-11610.

At the heart of the Convention is established procedure for dealing with international child abduction. These protocols include the Central Authority, CA, which handles the responsibilities of the convention. In the United States the CA is the Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues.

The Convention also defines the child’s habitual residence, which is the child resides "as of habit" or permanently, for the purposes of the law. It provides that the children will not be returned when the return of the child would expose him or her to physical and psychological harm or an intolerable situation called a "grave risk of harm."

As of July 2001, the Convention is in force between the United States and 50 countries. The Convention applies to wrongful removals or retentions that occurred on or after the date the treaty came into effect between those two countries. The dates vary for each country and more countries are considering signing on to the Convention. A parent must check the most recent list prepared by the Office of Children’s Issues to learn whether the Convention was in force in a particular county at the time of the wrongful removal or retention.

Parental rights do not include illegal removal a child to outflank a custody arrangement by taking the child across state lines. The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, a uniform law regarding custody and visitation for parties from different states, is designed to discourage and prevent parental kidnapping. If a spouse moves during a divorce and attempts to file for custody in another jurisdiction, the law governing jurisdiction is complex. Once a state has jurisdiction in custody dispute, however, it is difficult to move it to another state.

Most but not all states have adopted UCCJEA. A parent disputing custody is going to need the services of a lawyer.

Resources: When parents live in different states, courts resolve custody fights under the terms of the UCCJEA, a law designed to prevent parental kidnapping. A good place to start for information for information about interstate custody fights is a publication of the Department of Justice, available at www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/189181.pdf.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) provides help to individuals, parents, agencies in locating and assisting in the return of missing children. It works with the CA of the Hague Convention.

Resources: NCMEC toll free numbers are 800-843-5678 and 800-826-7653.

See also UCCJEA; ICARA;Parental Kidnapping; PKPA; CA; Hague Convention; Habitual residence; Grave Risk of Harm.

Add the Divorce Encyclopedia
to Your Website
!


The Research Center

Give Our Research Center a Try. Gain access to the same research material that lawyers often use to establish and win divorce cases. This material consists of legal journal articles and case explanation/analysis documents on a wide range of topics. If you think your situation is unique, your answers will most likely be here. In order to gain access to this area, you must establish an account, but you can search the documents before deciding.


The Divorce Source Difference

Since February 1st, 1997 (when we initially launched Divorcesource.com) we have helped millions of people contemplating or experiencing divorce. The reason we have been able to reach so many people is because we have made it a priority to listen to our customers. We have built a trust by listening and delivering what the customer needs, rather than what we think they want. This is the Divorce Source difference.


Social

Easily Connect With a Lawyer or Mediator
Have Divorce Professionals from Your Area Contact You!
Enter Your Zip Code:

Custody Scheduling and Tracking

Easily Connect With a Lawyer or Mediator
Have Divorce Professionals from Your Area Contact You!
Enter Your Zip Code:

 

Start Your Divorce File for Divorce

 

Settle Your Divorce Negotiate Your Divorce

 

Track Child Custody Track Custody & Visitation

QDRO Preparation
Guarantee Official PayPal Seal Facebook Twitter Versign Secure Site
Limited Offer Women's Rights Manual For Divorce
Cover Price: $55.95
Your Price: $29.95
You Save: $26.00

"The Absolute Best Investment in Your Divorce"

Men's Rights Manual For Divorce
Cover Price: $55.95
Your Price: $29.95
You Save: $26.00

"Uncover Your Options and Unleash Solutions"