You read stories every day of children abducted from their custodial parent by the noncustodial parent. This is always a serious violation of custody agreements. Though it is clearly a criminal action, the removal of children does not always guarantee a neat or speedy resolution, or even the safety of the child.
A Washington Post opinion piece by Prof. Jane K. Stoever, director of the domestic violence clinic at the University of California, Irvine School of Law, describes the difficulties custodial parents face trying to have their children returned,
Worst case scenario: the 1999 Colorado killing of three abducted daughters by their father.
In the piece, Stoever gives examples of the way in which the law does not always move swiftly to ensure the return or the safety of the kidnapped child.
These cases are frustrating in many ways, especially when state lines and national borders are crossed and jurisdictions come into conflict.
Stoever recounts how the divorced husband of a client beat her up and abducted their children. Stoever assumed the police would respond quickly, issue Amber alerts, and get those kids back.
Instead, a Washington, D.C. police officer declined to write up the case, calling it a “private family matter.” The cop offered this opinion: “What safer place for the children than with their dad?”
One website provides pictures and thumbnail sketches of unsolved cases of child abduction.
Abduction is not uncommon
Fortunately, cases this extreme are still the exception. But children are frequently removed from their proper homes by frustrated noncustodial parents. Most cases are resolved, but that is small comfort to terrified custodial parents.
At our firm, you can always be assured of our attention to this most important family law issue: the safety and well-being of children. We work with the courts, with police, and with their counterparts across state lines to ensure that children are OK and that the terms of custody agreements are enforced.
We cite these stories not to frighten you but to acknowledge that some parents resort to extreme measures where their children are concerned. We make it our business to calm these situations and to resolve them in ways that protect the children, and return them to their lawful homes.
If you have a problem, or think you may have a problem, we urge you to immediately consult with us.