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Parental abduction during and after divorce

On Behalf of | Apr 17, 2023 | blog, family law |

The emotional turmoil associated with a New Jersey divorce often leads people to do things they would never do under normal circumstances. One such example of these unthinkable acts is parental abduction, which happens more than many people realize.

What is parental abduction?

Legally speaking, parental abduction is the criminal act in which one parent takes a child without the permission or knowledge of the other parent. Parental abduction doesn’t have to be the result of a divorce. However, experts agree that parents dealing with the emotional and mental stress associated with a divorce are more likely to commit this crime.

How common is parental abduction?

It’s difficult to determine precisely how common parental abduction is because so many instances go unreported. However, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children report that 800,000 children go missing yearly. Their study also reports that approximately 200,000 of those instances get linked to a parent or other family member.

How does parental abduction impact children?

Parents who abduct their own children usually say that they did so with the child’s best interests at heart. Unfortunately, parental abduction is always a traumatic experience for the children involved. Not only do they feel suddenly cut off from their other parent, but they essentially become hostages.

Are there warning signs of parental abduction?

The best way to prevent parental abduction is to keep your divorce as amicable as possible. However, there are some warning signs to recognize.

  • Has your ex ever threatened or implied that they want to take your children?
  • Does your ex have a history of violent, erratic behavior?
  • Does your ex refuse to follow existing court orders?

While divorce does take a toll on your children, it’s up to you and your spouse to protect them from the most damaging parts of the process. Committing to working together during and after the divorce is crucial.