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Parental Kidnapping in New Jersey: Fighting for Your Child's Return

ABC News reports that, in 1999, parental and family kidnappings occurred at a rate nearly four times higher than “non-family” abductions. Child Find of America reports that 78 percent of these parental and family abductions involved the non-custodial parent. Further, 82 percent of abductors intended to permanently deprive the other parent of their parental rights. These figures paint a grim picture for parents embroiled in contentious custody disputes.

If you suspect your child is the victim of parental kidnapping, call the police. That’s first. The sooner law enforcement becomes involved, the higher the potential for successful intervention. The next step is to find an experienced New Jersey family law attorney who can help you assert your rights and fight for your child’s best interests and safe return.

The Legal Resources Available to Parents

There are many different legal tools a parent may use to resolve a custody dispute or parental kidnapping situation. In some situations, a simple restraining order may be enough to prevent a parent who poses a tangible threat from coming near a child. Other times, comprehensive custody orders should be sought to limit or deny parental visitation rights. Children can also by placed on a list that would flag them at an airport. In these cases, the victimized parent will need to present a strong case with supporting evidence to convince a judge that tight restrictions or elimination of visitation is key to a child’s safety and well-being. Courts are generally not inclined to strip any parent of parenting time unless there is ample proof that to do so would be extremely damaging for the child. Child custody attorneys in Somerset County recognize the burden of proof that is on the parent seeking this action and will help gather the necessary evidence.

Some child abduction cases ultimately delve into complex legal issues. For instances, if a child has been taken to another state, the parent seeking the child’s return may need to invoke the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. The UCCJEA, adopted in 49 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands allows parents a uniform means of legal redress. The Act allows courts in the state that issued the original child custody order to retain jurisdiction, preventing modification by courts in another state, which may have different standards and practices. That way, a parent who takes a child from New Jersey to another state can’t seek custody orders there to circumvent New Jersey family court custody orders.

If a child has been taken out of the country, the legal process becomes even more complicated and rigorous. The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is a treaty providing a legal framework for signatory countries to facilitate the prompt recovery and return of children abducted across international borders. If the destination country is a signatory to this treaty, a parent can use seek legal redress in the courts of that country. If the destination country is not a signatory to this treaty, the legal process in that country will be more complicated and the outcome less certain. Success in any case is strongly linked to the counsel and dedication of an experienced child custody lawyer. Once you have contacted law enforcement, a New Jersey child custody attorney can help you fight for your child.

If you suspect your child is a victim of parental kidnapping in New Jersey, contact the Somerset County child custody attorneys at Rozin-Golinder Law LLC as soon as you have contacted the appropriate law enforcement authorities. Call (732) 810-0034.

Additional Resources: New Jersey Brother, Sister Kidnapped by Dad in State Building, by Brian Thompson, NBC New York, May 10, 2017.

More Blog Entries: Can Your Online Activity Lead to a Restraining Order?, January 27, 2017, New Jersey Family Law Attorney Blog

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