Child custody disputes between parents can escalate to concerns regarding child abduction. Preventative steps can be taken in the family law court to prevent or minimize the opportunity for a parent to leave the county, California and/or the United States with a child, concealing the child’s whereabouts. Child abduction prevention orders are usually sought on an ex parte (emergency) basis to protect the best interests of a child. Such requested orders can be sought by way of a Request for Order or a Request for Domestic Violence Restraining Order.
REQUESTING COURT ORDERS
The family court can make orders restricting a parent from moving and/or traveling with a child outside of the county, California and/or the United States. The family court can make orders for turnover of a child’s passport or to restrict a parent from applying for a passport for their child.
ENFORCEMENT OF COURT ORDERS
The family court can make an order, upon the request of a parent, for any law enforcement officer to enforce the restrictions placed upon the other parent in the context of abduction prevention. The Child Abduction Unit of the Office of the District Attorney can assist a parent and/or law enforcement in locating and retrieving an abducted child from the offending parent.
FACTORS THE COURT MUST CONSIDER IN GRANTING ORDERS
In order to assess the need for child abduction prevention orders, the court must consider a variety of factors such as the following:
- Has the other parent violated, or threatened to violate, a custody or visitation order in the past;
- Does the other parent have strong ties to California;
- Has the other parent quit their job, closed a bank account, sold assets, sold their home, ended a lease, hidden/destroyed documents or applied for a passport or birth certificate;
- Does the other parent have a history of domestic violence, child abuse, not cooperating with the other parent in parenting or taking the child without permission;
- Does the other parent have a criminal record; or
- Does the other parent have family or ties to another county, state or country.
For an assessment of your concerns regarding child abduction, contact us for a free phone consultation.