Parental Abduction Laws
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Parental abduction laws apply when there is a court order in place indicating specific custody rights for each parent subjectively. Without a court order in place, it is assumed that both parents have equal rights pertaining to their child/children. Once a custody decision has been made and enforced by a family court, if one or both parents violate the terms by removing the child/children and relocating him or her to a different state without the other parent’s knowledge, it is considered parental abduction. Law enforcement cannot get involved in a custody battle, however they can make sure a child custody agreement is followed once a court issues a decree.
To be considered parental abduction, the courts must always be involved. Depending on the state, the laws may differ and a parent must always be educated as to what laws apply to his or her subjective situation. Education on parental abduction laws by state must be discussed with a lawyer. With the help of a lawyer and the courts, The Parental Abduction Recovery, Enforcement, and Network Training Act (The PARENT Act) are used to validate efforts by a parent to retrieve the child/children. In most cases, the child/children are not totally aware of the circumstances involved in his or her abduction. The parent taking the child is more than likely using a cover story to keep the child from running away or telling anyone that he or she has been taken. Research shows that parental child abduction victimizes more than 354,000 U.S. families each year and is a crime very much misunderstood, but is still punishable by the legal system.