Parental Kidnapping

Family abductions are the second largest number of child abductions. The best national estimates for the number of missing children are found in the National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children (NISMART-2), released in October 2002. According to toNISMART-2, an estimated

  • 800,000 children younger than 18 are missing each year, or an average of 2,000 children reported missing each day.
  • 200,000 children were abducted by family members.
  • 58,000 children were abducted by nonfamily members, and
  • 115 children were the victims of “stereotypical” kidnapping. These crimes involve someone the child does not know or knows only slightly, who holds the child overnight, transports the child 50 miles or more, kills the child, demands ransom, or intends to keep the child permanently.
[Andrea J. Sedlak, David Finkelhor, Heather Hammer, and Dana J. Schultz. U.S. Department of Justice. “National Estimates of Missing Children: An Overview” in National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children. Washington, DC: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, October 2002, page 5.]

Parents involved in high conflict custody cases and divorce proceedings, parents in mixed culture marriages, abusive marriages, and parents with mental health problems are more likely to kidnap children. Most often preschool or younger children are taken by a parent.

Fathers and mothers are equally as likely to take a child. If you think your spouse might kidnap your child, you need to discuss the issue with your attorney. Your attorney can work with you and the court to help prevent your spouse from leaving with your child. There are no federal parental kidnapping laws. Congress enacted the PKPA in 1980 to resolve jurisdictional conflicts in child custody cases.

 

 

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Angela McIlveen
CEO/Partner Attorney
Angela McIlveen is a founding Partner Attorney at the McIlveen Family Law Firm. As a partner at the McIlveen Law Firm, she handles cases in family law including child custody and support, divorce, alimony, adoption, separation, domestic violence and equitable distribution. She is often called upon to teach CLE classes to other attorney and to speak at events.

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