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What can be done in response to an international abduction?

It is always best for parents to honor the conditions of their child custody agreements. These agreements are created in large part to help provide children get a sense of stability when their parents cannot live together. But that stability can be torn asunder when one parent takes it upon himself or herself to violate a custody agreement by abducting the child. It can be disturbing for a parent when a child is moved to another area of the state or country without permission. But if the child is taken out of the country, the problem is significantly magnified.


If your child is taken to another country in violation of your child custody agreement, then the offending parent has committed a federal crime. Engaging in an international abduction with the intent of denying a parent his or her custodial rights can be punishable by fines or as much as three years imprisonment.

And while the situation is certainly upsetting, you do have some actions available to you if your child is the victim of an international abduction. Often parents can negotiate the return of the child. The negotiation can be assisted by the U.S. Department of State, which works with foreign law enforcement agencies and officials to coordinate such negotiations.

You can also solicit the services of an experienced family law attorney. The attorney can help you understand your options as well as provide you with legal representation. In addition, the attorney can act on your behalf when working with the State Department and officials of foreign governments. Remember, while this may be a very difficult time for you and your child, you can be proactive in trying to secure his or her safe return.

Source: Child Custody

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