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What can I do to protect my child from parental abduction?

You are not alone in your concern about your ex or current spouse taking your child away from you. In contentious divorces or child custody disputes, it is a common worry. There is a good reason for this concern as current estimates indicate that more than 200,000 families experience family abductions per year. Over the years, news outlets have helped shine a harsh light on the subject of family abductions. The increased awareness has resulted in greater prevention measures which any parent can accomplish.

The first step is recognizing whether or not the danger of parental abduction exists for your child. Some of the indicators for possible abduction attempts by your child's other parent include:

-- Volatility during communications

-- The presence of mental disorders

-- Previous or current abduction threats

-- The other parent is a citizen of another country

-- The presence of planning behaviors such as closing bank accounts, applying for passports, etc.

It may feel impossible to remove the threat of parental abduction, but there are many things a parent can do to discourage and even prevent the other parent from taking the child. Here are just a few:

-- Take immediate steps to secure child custody

-- Have your lawyer add interference and abduction prevention measures to your child custody order

-- Obtain your child's passport and notify the passport authorities that your child may not leave the country without your written permission

-- Explore other ways to restrict your child's passport through the government

-- Always keep a current detailed description of your child, including current color photos

This is just the tip of the iceberg, but the more preventive measures you take, the safer your child will be. You can speak with your divorce lawyer about your concerns as well. When your attorney understands your fear, he or she can suggest personalized solutions to keep your child safely at home in the state of Massachusetts.

Source: StopFamilyAbductionsNow.org, "Fact Sheet for Parents," accessed May 31, 2016

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