Failure to Return Child After Visitation

Failure to Return Child After Visitation

Serious matters can come up concerning child custody. State law usually leaves most of the decisions regarding custody up to the parents, unless there exists abuse, or other possible threatening behavior involved. When your spouse is abusive, either to yourself or your children, or when your spouse acts in a negligent manner or in a feasibly dangerous way towards your children, you need to have documentation to help safeguard your child custody rights. A couple of things that is going to help provide evidence may include:

  • Report the abuse to the authorities
  • Carry out a restraining order
  • Attain the assistance of friends or family members that might have witnessed the abuse or neglect
  • Keep a record about every occurrence, and the dates and times when they happened
  • Hire a private investigator to acquire video footage of neglect, such as leaving the child in a vehicle by themselves, or home by themselves devoid of appropriate supervision

Impact of Disputes on Children

High-conflict custody disputes are potentially going to produce a range of symptoms in children. These could comprise of regression, lapses in potty training, trepidation, attachment, revocation, depression, and anxiousness. Provocative or belligerent sexual behavior, or overtly sexual conduct is rare in divorce. Nevertheless, it run of the mill to sexual abuse. Psychological assessment can assist in determining if a child has been a victim of sexual abuse. Whereas the assessment can’t always determine if sexual abuse has happened, it could provide valuable information to help the court to decide if the custody and/or visitation order is required to be altered.

Parental Kidnapping

Parental kidnapping occurs when one of the parents takes the children and declines to return them. When you don’t have a court ordered custody judgement, parental kidnapping according to the law is not valid. Parents are seen as having equal rights to the child and each one of them can go wherever they want, when they want and whenever they want with their child. When one parent transports the child to a second or unnamed place, in order to withhold visitation from the other parent, even devoid of a standing custody judgment, it is deemed parental kidnapping. Recent research released by the U.S. Department of Justice estimated that there were more than 350,000 parental kidnappings in just a year.

Moves with No Notification

When one parent moves to a different state or other area with the child, following the notification of the other parent, this is not deemed kidnapping. Nevertheless, moving without notifying the other parent can be deemed kidnapping when there is a custody and visitation judgement in place in which provides each of the parent’s access to their child.

Failure in returning a child following their scheduled visitation or failing to present a child for visitation with their parent is not deemed kidnapping. This is considered as the crime of interference with custody when there is a judgement regarding custody presently in place. In a lot of cases, this is referred to as “contempt of court” and enables a parent to file a “Motion to Show Cause for Contempt of Court”. In many states, when a parent fails to return the child following visitation and the custodial parent demands return of the child, they have 48 hours in which they are required to do.

Why Would a Parent Kidnap Their Child?

Disagreeing With Custody Orders

Parental kidnapping is usually done to interpose the others parental contact with their child. Family abductions are typically carried out by parents that are involved in disputes over custody of the child. Occasionally a parent that loses custody might feel as if they did not get a fair deal in court. They might opt to override a custody judgement by kidnapping the child to back up what they deem as the appropriate custody decision. They remove or keep the child, disregarding the rights of the other parent. In a lot of cases, this could end up traumatizing the child when they seem to be forced to live life on the lam. Being disconnected from family and friends is going to make the situation worse.

Concern of Harm To Child

Many parents kidnap their children to safeguard them from maltreatment by the other parent. Their reasoning could include accusations of sexual, physical, or mental abuse. In a lot of cases, these accusations are found to be false and are meant to ruin the character of the accused. These usually bring a dishonor that can estrange the parent from their friends, colleagues, and members of their family.

Retaliation Against The Other Parent

Sometimes, one parent might kidnap the child as retaliation towards the other parent. This typically bears no relation to what is in the child’s best interest and is done by an irritated parent that wants to retaliate. A jealous parent could use this scheme to ruin the child’s relationship with the other parent. A kidnapping parent sees the child’s needs as minor to the parental agenda which is to irritate, enrage, control, attack or mentally torment the other parent.

A lot of children are told that their other parent has died or doesn’t love them anymore. While they are removed and secluded from relatives and friends, kidnapped children might have their name and appearance changed and could be told not to give away their true identities or situation. These children experience great emotional detriment and might go through a variety of emotions comprising of, depression, uneasiness, concern of abandonment, anger, isolation, overblown fearfulness, and loss of trust and soundness. Because of the harmful impacts on children, parental kidnapping has been described as a type of child abuse.

Stopping Parental Kidnapping

The ideal way to deal with child-kidnapping is to stop it from happening to begin with. A lot of kidnappings happen prior to or following a custody decision. Being ready is your best defense. When you fear the other parent is going to take your children away without your approval, you can petition a judge for issuing an emergency custody order, in which a lot of states offer. You can petition that the order includes a provision that the other parent is prohibited from taking the children out of state, or that they only be allowed monitored visitation.

When you are the custodial parent, be sure school authorities, daycare staff or anyone else that has accessibility to your child, possesses a copy of your custody orders. They can be given unequivocal instructions to not releasing the child or any documents of the child to the non-custodial parent. Any friend or family member that supports or assist a parent in concealing a child needs to be notified that their actions can be viewed as criminal accountability when they aid and abet a felony.

Warning Signs to Look Out For

Even though there are no sure-fire warning signs or mental profiles for kidnapping risk, there are some signals that should not be disregarded:

  • Parent has threatened to kidnap the child on prior occasions
  • Parent has no close links to the child’s state of origin
  • Citizenship in another country and family connections to their country or roots
  • Friends and family residing out of state or overseas
  • No financial reasoning to stay in present area; for instance unemployed, able to get a job anyplace, or economically self-reliant
  • Sold a house recently, left a job, closed financial institution accounts or liquidated their assets
  • History of mental disorder, domestic abuse/violence and/or child abuse
  • Previous criminal record

When factors are present which might be an indicator of an increased risk of kidnapping, you need to contact your attorney to petition the courts for safeguards suitable to your particular case.

In the Event of Parental Kidnapping

In 1980, the federal government passed the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act to address interstate custody matters. The Act dictates that state authorities provide complete faith and trust to other states’ custody judgement, provided that those were made in compliance with the terms of the Act. Under the PKPA, home states jurisdiction is the favored cause of primary jurisdiction. Home state is in reference to the location where the child has lived for the past 6 months or longer.

Report The Child Missing

The first thing you need to do is immediately report the child missing and file a Missing Persons Report with local authorities. Be sure you have copies of your current custody orders with you to present to law enforcement.

Get Your Attorney Involved

Get a hold of your attorney and petition that a felony warrant be acquired towards the kidnapper. Have your lawyer institute contempt proceedings and file for custody in the home state of jurisdiction. Ask for the Federal Parent Locator Service be utilized to locate the missing parent. They are able to access information from outside sources, including the IRS, SSA, and the FBI.

Contact Friends and Family

Call everyone that has recently contacted with your ex. This could comprise of family members, friends, neighbors, and their boss. Be sure that they know that this is criminally offensive and when they hold back information, they could be held accountable for abetting in felony kidnapping. They could even be charged with conspiracy. Get a hold of your ex’s lawyer. Courts have bound attorneys to disclose their clients’ location in child kidnapping cases.

National Child Search Assistance Act

As of 1990, the National Child Search Assistance Act necessitates that federal, state, and local law-enforcement agencies submit information about missing children, younger than eighteen into the FBI’s and the NCIC’s database. The Act also sets out state reporting stipulations. I addition with the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, law enforcement is required to submit the information into the NCIC database inside of two hours after the delivery of the report.

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC)

Get a hold of the NCMEC for reporting the missing child and petition for all available support. Request for a free copy of their pamphlets to that provide advice concerning child abductions. They can establish non-profit groups that offer emotional support and guidance to parents of kidnapped children.

International Kidnapping

Local law enforcement is able to inform INTERPOL the child as missing. When the child has been taken or kept overseas, get a hold of your local FBI office. The FBI has jurisdiction to examine presumed transgressions of the IPKCA. Get a hold of the Office of Children’s Issues in which is going to have beneficial information, containing an “International Parental Child Abduction Booklet” in which includes beneficial information concerning international abductions.

Domestic Violence and Child Abuse

Researchers have discovered there is a connection between domestic violence and child abuse. Even when children are witnesses to violent acts and were not targeted, they could be impacted in the same way as those that were abused physically and sexually. Domestic violence is a behavioral pattern, not a singular event. They can become more severe and habitual over time. There is a heightened probability that the children are eventually going to become victims too. Investigators deem domestic violence as child mistreatment, and it is your responsibility their parent to safeguard the children from the lasting effects of domestic violence by removing yourself from the situation.

Child abuse and/or child neglect covers an assortment of types of injury and severity to children. These comprise of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, neglect, in hams way and abandonment. Child abuse occurs in a lot of different ways, but the outcome is the same causing physical and/or emotional harm leaving behind deep and lasting scars.

A lot of parents that are physically abusive claim their actions are types of discipline to make their children learn how to conduct themselves. There is an enormous difference between giving a smack on the child’s behind and twisting their arm until it snaps.

One of the more painful impacts of child abuse is its inclination for repeating itself. 1 out of 3 abused and/or neglected children are going to grow up becoming an abusive parent. The sooner abused children can get help, the better chance they have to recover from their abuse and not perpetuate the cycle.

If Your Child is Subject to Abuse

Being the parent, you’re accountable for whatever happens to your child, even when you aren’t the one that actually carried out the abuse. When you’re a victim of spousal abuse, you need to get help right away. There are a multitude of resources that are able to help you. Begin by getting a hold of the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7223). They are able to offer crisis involvement, information and references for domestic violence victims.

Signs of Child Abuse

Learn how to find signs of physical abuse of children like unexplainable bruises, lashes, or cuts. Search for injuries that seem to have a pattern like marks from a hand or belt. Your child’s clothing may be unsuitable for the weather like heavy, long-sleeved shirts and pants on warmer days that could be concealing injuries.

Signs of sexual abuse could include bloody and/or torn underclothing, swelling and/or bleeding in the genital region, or difficulty standing and/or sitting. They could appear to avoid another individual and/or display strange behavior. Older children could resort to harmful behavior to cover the pain by using alcohol and/or drugs or self-harm and even suicide attempts.

When they are victims of neglect, the child may appear dirty or appear to have regularly bad hygiene, like matted and dirty hair, or obvious body odor. Untreated ailments and bodily injuries are also indicators of neglect.

A common response to news concerning child abuse is denial. You need to remain calm and encouraging when your child starts talking to you about abuse. Your child is looking for you to offer help and give support. Allow the child to explain in their own words what occurred and don’t cross-examine the child or ask fishing questions. Reassure them that you take them serious and the abuse is not their fault.

When a child is in direct endangerment or has been seriously injured, call 911 or other emergency services right away. If you suspect a child is, or at risk of getting abused, it is critical to take action. Get a hold of the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453). Your local hospital can help unite you to local resources. A lot of hospitals have programs particularly associated to child abuse and mistreatment.

Getting out of an abusive marriage is never easy and needs be done with the help of a counselor to guarantee the protection of both you and your children. There are a lot of resources that are able to assist by providing temporary housing, no-cost counseling and financial assistance. Don’t remain in an abusive situation and safeguard your children at any cost.

Protective Orders

Order For Protections (OFP) is a court order that is going to help to safeguard you from domestic abuse. This expresses to the abuser to quit harming and/or threatening you, your children, and to stop contacting you at home and at work, and at the children’s school or child care facility. A federal law makes it a criminal offence for an individual to be in possession of guns when they have an OFP against them. When the abuser is owner or has guns, through your petition, you need to ask the court to order them to turn all of their guns over to law enforcement.

The 4 Types of Court Orders

Below are the main types of Court Orders.

Protection Order

This is a civil order for domestic violence victims in which the court instructs the abuser that threatened and/or assaulted you, not to do it again. This is able to be accomplished at any local court.

No Contact Order

This is a criminal order for domestic violence victims, following criminal charges being filed against the abuser. After the authorities have responded to your 911 call and made a report, this is dispatched to the Prosecutor. No Contact Orders are asked by the Prosecutor when they are concerned for your safety.

Restraining Order

This is a civil order that can be issued alongside divorces, legal separations, and/or child custody cases. This prohibits one individual from contacting another individual or committing a violent act. It can also order the individual to stay away from you or to move out of your home. In addition, it can be utilized to obtain temporary custody of your children. You can get a restraining order on your own, but it is suggested to contact an attorney to guarantee your legal rights are safeguarded.

Anti-Harassment Order

This order is a civil court order that is filed by an individual that has been irritated or harassed by another individual. This disallows your harasser from contacting you, coming to your home or place of employment.


  1. Nolo. (2015, January 19). Emergency child custody. Retrieved October 22, 2021, from

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