Dougherty Tobias Iszard, Northern Virginia Law, P.C.

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Options when a child is abducted by the non-custodial parent

One of the worst nightmares any parent in Virginia or elsewhere could suffer is the loss of a child. Unfortunately, some parents lose their children through abduction. It is common for a child to be abducted by a non-custodial parent, grandparent or other family member who does not have the legal right to care for the child.

According to the United States Department of Justice, a parent might kidnap a child before the custody order has been finalized. It can also happen during a separation or divorce, or during an argument before a divorce has even been sought.

Is there anything the other parent can do to recover a missing child? The FBI states that child abduction by a non-custodial parent violates federal laws when the child is taken out of state. In addition to alerting local law enforcement, the custodial parent may seek help from the FBI. Depending on the circumstances, an arrest warrant may be issued against the parent who took children across state lines or out of the country. Some foreign countries offer civil recourse if they are among those that signed The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. These countries agreed to assist authorities in returning an abducted child under the age of 16 to his or her native country.

Children who are removed from their custodial guardians may face physical harm or develop long-term emotional issues. Fortunately, laws exist that can give law enforcement and other entities the best chance possible at returning children home to their custodial parent.

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