Each year, hundreds if not thousands of children are abducted by a parent. A parent, who fears losing custody of his or her child, may disappear with his or her child to another state. Or another, concerned that his or her child is being abused at the other parent's hands, may travel to another country with no plans to return.
These types of abductions can occur when a child is dropped out for visitation. The other parent often only finds out his or her child is gone once his or her child is not dropped back off again.
Once taken as part of an international abduction, American parents often face difficulties in brokering the return of their kids. This is why the State Department recommends for parents to work closely with their family law attorneys to craft custody decrees that help to minimize such a risk.
They recommend that you can protect against your child being taken abroad without your consent by having a clause added to your court order requiring your ex to consult you before getting your child a passport.
You may also have the agreement written so that it limits how far away from home your child is allowed to travel without your consent. Having a clause written that prohibits your child being able to travel internationally without your advance knowledge may be helpful as well.
In the case of the latter, if your ex retains foreign citizenship, then he or she may also be able to claim it for his or her child also. If this applies to your case, then the State Department recommends you even contacting that particular country's consulate or embassy. You may be able to have them flag your ex's own passport or have them add your child to an at-risk list if a passport is applied for in his or her name.
They also recommend remaining alert as a parent. If you notice that your ex spontaneously decides to sell his or her home or quits his or her job, then this may be a sign that he or she is preparing to relocate unexpectedly.
In addition to remaining vigilant, they also suggest that parents always have easy access to restraining, custody and protection orders in case they're needed by law enforcement.
If you have reason to fear that your son or daughter may be abducted his or her other parent, then a Fort Myers, Florida, child custody attorney may be able to advise you as to how to best prevent this.
Source: U.S. Department of State, "Prevention tips," accessed Jan. 02, 2018