In the vast majority of cases, divorced couples with children eventually settle into some kind of working co-parent relationship. While things may sometimes get tense and conflicts can erupt, the parents usually find a way to work together for the sake of their children.
Sometimes, however, that doesn’t happen. One parent may want to use the children as weapons to punish their ex-spouse for leaving them or there can be irreconcilable conflicts between how the parents want the children to be raised. When that’s the situation, a co-parent with ties outside the United States may try to take their children overseas to circumvent a custody ruling they don’t like. Parents are responsible for 90% of all child abductions.
How can you know if your co-parent may be contemplating international child abduction? Here are some possible red flags:
1. They suddenly have an intense interest in traveling abroad with the kids
One of the initial signs to be wary of is a sudden, intensified interest in traveling abroad with the children that you find outside the norm. For example, maybe your spouse’s parents were immigrants but your spouse hasn’t been back to their country in decades – but they suddenly want the children to meet a host of aunts, uncles and second cousins overseas.
2. They clearly believe that the current parenting time allocation is unfair
A co-parent contemplating abduction may claim that they’re being unfairly treated in an attempt to rationalize their actions to themselves or others. Someone who feels like they are the “victim” in a situation can more easily justify drastic measures.
3. They’ve made threats in the past about taking the children
Some people can go incredibly low when they’re angry, but threats to call the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) on you because they say you are a neglectful or abusive parent or threats to take the children away are a big warning sign. Sometimes the threats are designed to reassert control and demand compliance to whatever they want through fear, but they can easily escalate to actual abduction.
4. They have a history of disregarding court orders and clear contempt for the law
When a co-parent behaves as if the law and the court’s rulings don’t really apply to them, that’s concerning. Their disregard for legal authority can mean that they have zero qualms about committing a crime like parental abduction.
5. They’ve started selling their assets or establishing a new life overseas
If your co-parent suddenly sells their home and moves in with relatives or gets a job that can allow them to work overseas, that’s a serious concern. They may be actively taking steps to give themselves a landing spot with the children and the money to make the jump.
If you have reason to believe that your co-parent might attempt international child abduction, immediate action is crucial. Seeking legal guidance can help you figure out the best way to intervene and stop the abduction before it happens.
At The Law Firm of Poppe & Associates, PLLC, our focus is relentless advocacy for our clients. If you or someone you know is considering divorce, reach out to schedule a consultation at 646-665-3903 or by contacting us online.
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Mia Poppe, Esq.