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What is parental abduction?

If you and your spouse or partner have separated and must work through the process of identifying custody and visitation for your joint children, there are many things you should be aware of. The risk that your children’s other parent may take your kids away from you is one concern. For some people, this may be in the form of legal custody but for others, this could actually be in the form of a kidnapping.

Many things may influence a parent’s choice to abduct a child. As explained by Stop Family Abductions Now, conflict over time with kids can be involved in a large number of parental abduction cases. This a nonprofit group focused on helping people prevent these abductions and find abducted children indicates that more than 200,000 cases of parents illegally taking children occur each year. These acts are always concerning but the level of risk to children can increase if the abductor is mentally or emotionally unstable, has any substance abuse issues or has a history of violence.

If your children’s other parent ever threatens to take your children from you, you should be prepared to report the threat to authorities. When doing so, you will want to have your most current court order that outlines your custody and parenting agreements. You should also make sure that your kids’ schools and care providers know who is legally able to see or pick up your children.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but general information about parental abductions during child custody battles in Virginia.

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