What are the 5 Things You Need to Know about Child Abduction and Family Law?

Family5 Things You Need to Know about Child Abduction and Family Law?

Parental abduction occurs more than people realize. The anger and desperation felt by parents when their marriages end or when they believe they might not be able to see their child prompts many of them to take drastic measures.

A kidnapping by a parent is the highest risk children face when it comes to abduction according to Child Rescue Network. A parent abducts his own child more than a child is taken to be raped, killed, sold/trafficked, or for other nefarious reasons.

What should you know about parental abduction and kidnapping in general?

  1. A child goes missing or is abducted approximately every 40 seconds in the United States. According to the Child Rescue Network, approximately 150 of the kidnappings that happen on a daily basis were perpetrated by a family member, usually the parent.
  2. About a third of all kidnappings are perpetrated by someone the child knows. About half are done by the parent, usually the mother, and a little more than a quarter are by an acquaintance. Less than a quarter of all kidnappings are carried out by a stranger.
  3. Most abduction cases involve children under the age of six.
  4. Children involved in abduction are usually found alive and the number is even higher when a parent or acquaintance is the perpetrator. About 20 percent of the children reported missing to the National Center for Missing and Exploited children are not found alive when kidnapped by a non-family member.
  5. The faster an abduction is reported the higher the odds the child will be returned alive and unharmed. When a child is at risk for being harmed, it usually happens quickly. Nearly three-quarters of all children who do not survive the incident are dead within three hours after they go missing.

International Parental Abduction

Parental abduction is more common than it used to be, in part, because divorce rates are higher in modern times. However, there is an additional component that might be of concern to many families in turmoil: international abduction.

International parental abduction rates have risen in recent years because it’s easier than ever before to marry and build a family with someone from outside of the United States. Global communication and ease of travel have removed many of the limitations that once existed in relationships. While it’s great that people from around the world can get to know one another, fall in love, and start families, it adds a frightening risk if the relationship breaks down.

Families not only need to be concerned with parental abduction, but they also need to think about what would happen if a child was taken out of the country.

International parental abduction, like all parental abduction, is a crime. However, despite the protections provided by the Hague Convention, it can still be difficult and expensive to resolve an international child abduction.

Parental Abduction Damages a Child’s Life

No matter the circumstances, and whether a parent abducting a child takes him or her out of the country, parental abduction damages a child’s life and is considered child abuse. Even young children understand that being abducted is not normal. They also might not realize how hard the left-behind parent is working to bring the child home and feel abandoned by the parent that has done nothing wrong.

Your primary goal, especially if you are a parent going through a divorce or you have reason to believe your child’s other parent might consider abduction, is to reduce your child’s risk. If the unthinkable does occur, you should contact law enforcement and an experienced child abduction attorney immediately that can help you navigate the very technical waters of return. This increases the odds your child will be returned before any significant harm is done.

To learn more about what you can do to protect your child, visit The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

If you have questions or you would like to learn more about parental abduction, contact Gourvitz & Gourvitz, LLC at (973) 467-3200 or (212) 586-1700.


Gourvitz & Gourvitz LLC.

New Jersey
505 Morris Avenue
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Springfield, New Jersey 07081
Telephone: (973) 467-3200
Fax: (973) 467-4091
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142 West 57th St
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New York, New York 10019
Telephone: (212) 586-1700

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