No two California divorces are the same and some are undoubtedly more acrimonious than others. If you’re among those who worried that post-divorce child custody relations would be problematic, you are definitely not alone in your struggle. There’s a big difference, however, between not getting along well with your spouse (after all, that’s likely part of why you divorced) and facing an emergency situation. If you think that your child is in danger or your ex has committed a parental child abduction, you can reach out for immediate support.
Various support networks can help you get your child back. Whether you have sole or shared custody, no one (including your child’s other parent) has the right to take your child anywhere without your permission. Even if you initially granted permission for your son or daughter to go somewhere with his or her other parent, you can expect your ex to bring your child back at the agreed upon time. Post-divorce parental child abduction is a serious matter; there are laws to help protect your rights and your child’s safety.
State and federal resources
If you believe that your child is still in the United States, numerous state and federal agencies may be able to help you secure his or her safe return. The bottom line is that you are not helpless in the situation. You can take immediate action by notifying local police, the FBI and experienced family law advocates who are well-versed in California child custody laws and can provide much needed support.
Violation of a child custody order
This is a key factor in most parental child abduction situations. When the court finalized your divorce and issued a co-parenting order, you and your ex became immediately bound to adhere to the terms therein. Just because the other parent has your child doesn’t make it any less serious of a matter; it is kidnapping and no doubt violates one, if not more, of the terms of your co-parenting agreement.
Seeking sole custody
If you previously had a shared custody agreement, a parental child abduction may prompt you to petition the court for sole physical and legal custody of your child. This may help prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.
Realizing that your former spouse is deliberately not returning your child to you at an agreed upon time is understandably a worrisome, frightful situation. However, by trying to remain as calm as possible and tap into available support resources, you may be able to activate a system that can help secure your child’s immediate and safe return.