Child Abduction by a Parent

Experienced & Determined Long Island Family Lawyers

Parental abduction is a crime that affects the abandoned parent or guardian and, most importantly, the child. Child abduction (domestic or international) is a serious concern for some parents. Child abduction is the unauthorized removal of a child from the custody of the child’s natural parent or legally appointed guardian.

Although abduction by strangers is a problem, parental abduction, otherwise known as parental kidnapping, is a growing problem that affects parents all over the country. If you are concerned that the other parent may take your child out of the state or country or if you are a victim of domestic violence and seek to remove your child from the abusive parent, we strongly advice that you contact a Long Island family law attorney immediately.

Domestic & International Child Abduction

Parental kidnapping is a national concern that occurs at a rate of approximately 203,900 cases per year. Although a parent may abduct the child within the same city or state, it is not uncommon for the parent to flee with the child to another country. An international abduction occurs when the parent, relative, or friend of the parent leaves the country with the child or children in violation of a child custody order with plans to stay in that foreign country with the child. Another common circumstance occurs when the couple is still married and one parent takes the child(ren) on an alleged vacation and never the child(ren) home to the other parent.

Under certain circumstances, the risk of one parent unlawfully fleeing with their child to another country is greater than others. Some of the most common circumstances include:

  • The child was born to a parent with dual citizenship
  • The child has dual nationality
  • The child was previously abducted
  • The other parent has a prior criminal record or a history of lack of parental cooperation
  • The other parent has cultural and religious ties to a country that is not a part of the Hague Convention

The Hague Convention is an International treaty agreement to protect children from being taken to other countries by one parent from another and is intended to help return the children to their home country when they are taken.

Although the majority of abductions are domestic, two-thirds of international parental abduction cases involve mothers who claim they are the victims of domestic violence. How the other country treats an international abduction case, and whether or not they are a part of the Hague Convention will have an effect on how legal proceedings are carried out.

What If the Abducted Child Is Returned to Another Country?

Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that U.S. courts have jurisdiction to grant relief under the Hague Convention even when a child is returned to another country.

The lower court allowed a mother to relocate with a child to Scotland and refused to grant an automatic stay. The father appealed, but the 11th Circuit Court dismissed the appeal as moot, arguing that once a child has relocated to another country, the U.S. court becomes powerless to grant any relief.

In its decision, the U.S. Supreme Court stated that rendering these types of case moot could undermined the Hague Convention’s mandate of prompt return since U.S. courts would feel the necessity to automatically grant a Stay in order to prevent the loss of a right of appeal, even when the appeal has little chance of success. This in turn can potentially harm children, since it could delay a child’s readjustment to the other country.

By allowing U.S. courts to retain jurisdiction of these Hague Convention cases, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the best interests of the child, by allowing courts to decide these cases as expeditiously as possible.

Long Island Child Abduction Attorney

At Wisselman, Harounian & Associates, we understand the extreme anxiety that parents experience in child abduction cases as well as the level of urgency that they require. At our firm in Great Neck, we provide experienced, aggressive representation for victims of domestic violence and for parents whose children have been abducted.

Regardless of what your case may be, we can provide you with the steps you need to take to prevent an abduction. We can also provide legal remedies to get your child back at home where they safely belong. We urge you to contact us immediately if you are facing a child abduction situation or need to avoid the legal ramifications of removing your child from an abusive parent.

Contact a child abduction attorney on Long Island immediately to address your legal options.

Call (516) 773-8300 or contact us online today for a consultation!