Preventing Parental Child Abduction in New Jersey

Parental child abduction, which occurs when a parent unlawfully and without permission takes their child away from the other parent, is a traumatic experience that most families want to prevent. Unfortunately, the aftermath of a contentious divorce can sometimes lead to this situation, and it is important to look for the warning signs before it is too late.

If the other parent has repeatedly demanded the child, even after having been denied access, that is often a sign that they will attempt to spend time with their child at any means, and this needs to be acted on immediately. A knowledgeable New Jersey lawyer could help you prevent a parental child abduction by taking the necessary steps to ensure your family’s safety.

Laws Surrounding Parental Child Abduction

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) governs parental child abduction cases in all 50 states. This law sets forth what the jurisdiction should be in the event that a child is removed. Generally, wherever the child lived for the six months prior to their abduction is where the case should be adjudicated.

There are also state-specific parental kidnapping laws that protect children from abduction. For example, New Jersey statute 2C:13-4 dictates that it is a crime for a child to be taken, detained, enticed or concealed from the other parent for more than 24 hours. Additionally, the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction, protects against international kidnapping, and can help families dealing with more extreme cases of parental child abduction.

A local attorney familiar with these laws could explain them to a parent who is trying to prevent the abduction of their child and help make them aware of their rights.

Preventing Abduction through Court Orders

One of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of a parental child abduction is to have a detailed custody order in place. The parents of a child are required to abide by that arrangement, and the court can enforce it. If there is no official custody agreement, it could be more difficult to bring a child back to the left-behind parent after they have been abducted.

If there is a legitimate concern for abduction, or the other parent has already attempted it, a parent can seek that the other party be given supervised parenting time, so that their child does not spend alone with the other party. A parent who is afraid that that the other party may harm their child could also file an emergency protective order to prevent them from coming into contact.

A dedicated family lawyer in the area who is experienced in parental child abduction cases could guide a parent through the processes of applying for and receiving these court orders.

Other Preventative Actions

If a parent fears that their child will be abducted, they can take other initial preventive measures. A simple step would be to give their child a cell phone, which could help prevent abduction by allowing the parent to have constant contact with their child.

A parent could also take their child’s passport, if there is one, and make the request to have it safeguarded it at the court. This could help prevent international child abduction. If the child has no passport, they should not allow for the issuance of one.

A parent can also request that their child be placed on a Travel Alert if there is a concern for abduction, which would be processed through the State Department. This way, if the other parent attempted to take the child to an airport across borders, the government would be notified, and the child would be located quickly.

How a New Jersey Attorney Could Work to Prevent Parental Child Abduction

In a situation as serious as parental child abduction, it can be important to have someone who knows the applicable laws and procedures and can act quickly to protect a child. If a parent believes that their child may be abducted by their other parent, they should contact a qualified legal professional right away.

A skilled New Jersey child abduction lawyer who knows the important measures to take to prevent an abduction could help you be proactive about your situation and minimize potential risks. Call today to schedule a consultation and learn more about your options.

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