There are safe legal ways for fathers to help prevent and discourage parental child abduction. I did not know about these methods while many abduction attempts were taken with my own child but I feel it is important to review these ways so that other children can be saved from this abuse.
Ways To Know If Parental Child Abduction Might Happen
1) Mother has written or said that she wants to take the child out of the area (or country) with out the father.
2) Mother has said that she wants passports for the child even though there are no plans on leaving the country with both parents.
3) Family of the mother comes into town and does not have specific plans to help both of the child’s parents including the father.
4) Mother attempts to hide the child by bouncing the child around at friends houses or uses cars or businesses to hide the child from the father.
5) Mother’s country of origin is from another country and still has ties to that country. Mother might say things like she wants the child to be raised in the country by the child’s grandparents.
6) Mother suggests divorce as a reasonable option or something that may help the child.
7) Mother sends text messages that she wants to stay on vacation with the child out of the area for a longer duration with out the father.
8) Mother has friends or family that have abducted their children or has children that are not able to spend long term quality time with their father.
9) Mother has attempted to abduct children in the past or has helped friends keep children apart from their father.
10) Mother starts to date a fathers friends or spends additional time with her family and the child with out the father.
11) Mother of child or the family of the child makes accusations about the father that are false including abuse, lack of financial support, or mental / emotional concerns.
12) Mother or mother’s friend and family try to keep the child apart from the father during holidays or special occasions. Mother’s friends may also try to tell the father what to do during the event or make unreasonable demands on the father during the holiday or event.
13) Mother tries to create documents including health insurance, educational documents, or medical documents with out the fathers name or consent.
What Do I Do If There Are Signs Of Parental Child Abduction
1) File preventative abduction orders.
This is an excellent way of bringing the issue to the table. If you can not afford to pay the fees or hire a lawyer you can ask for a financial waver and use a free filing center at most court houses to help you file the prevention. In the preventative abduction order you can ask that the court keeps the passports, you can have the mother put money into an account to pay for your flight and court fees if she does take the child out of the area, and you you can make it illegal if she takes the child out of the area with out your consent. The mother can still do something illegal even if the orders are in place and take the child away but it will be easier to show that she broke the law and your child will always be able to find out that you did everything you could to keep the child in a safe, loving, and caring environment with both of their parents.
2) Put the passports in a safe deposit box that only the father has access to.
This is a good method of making it harder for the mother to take the child out of the country with out your consent. She can still hide the child in the area, bounce the child around in an unhealthy way, and take the child out of the state, but it will be more difficult to get the child out of the country.
3) Call 911 and the local police if you do not know where your child is at at any time.
If for any reason your child is away from you in an unknown location or the mother is moving the child from place to place, do not delay. Call 911 and the local police. They will come to yor home where the child was taken, make a report, and will most likely say that you need to go to the court house. After you have the police come out, contact the national center at 1-800-THE-LOST and get a case started. If you delay and try to work things out with the mother (like I did), you will loose precious time with your child and will make it harder to get your child back in a safe environment.
4) Report other mothers who abuse or abduct children. Report boy friends of mothers and others that say negative things about the biological father.
This is a good way to help solve the abduction and alienation problem. If you find out that another mother has allowed their child to take drugs, participate in abusive behavior, or says negative things about the father, report them to “Child Protective Services” and other agencies that deal with child abduction and abuse. If you believe the child may be hidden from the father or if the mother or a boyfriend (step father) says she “can not find the father” as an excuse, call the national center and make a report by calling 1-800-THE-LOST. Fathers always want to be with their children and any mother or boyfriend of the custodial mother that helps to hide a child is alienating the child from the father.
Alienation and abduction is child abuse. It hurts the child. It causes developmental problems, and must be stopped right away.
Most states have penal codes against parental child abduction including California as seen here:
278. Every person, not having a right to custody, who maliciously takes, entices away, keeps, withholds, or conceals any child with the intent to detain or conceal that child from a lawful custodian shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or both that fine and imprisonment, or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 for two, three, or four years, a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or both that fine and imprisonment. 278.5. (a) Every person who takes, entices away, keeps, withholds, or conceals a child and maliciously deprives a lawful custodian of a right to custody, or a person of a right to visitation, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or both that fine and imprisonment, or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 for 16 months, or two or three years, a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or both that fine and imprisonment. (b) Nothing contained in this section limits the court's contempt power. (c) A custody order obtained after the taking, enticing away, keeping, withholding, or concealing of a child does not constitute a defense to a crime charged under this section.
Help enforce these laws by reporting it. If you know of a child that is being kept from their father, report it to the local and national authorities right away.