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What if I fear my child's other parent may kidnap them?

For many parents who share custody or visitation rights with a child's other parent, there is a constant fear in the back of their minds that the other parent may do something rash and kidnap the child. Of course, this is a normal fear that many parents have, and the vast majority of parents never have to face this fear in reality. However, any parent who fears parental kidnapping by a child's other parent can take specific steps to protect their child in case their fears are realized.

You should make sure that your child memorizes your phone number, and have the child practice calling your phone from other phones. This way, if the child ever feels in danger, he or she knows exactly what to do.

You should also keep extensive records on both your child and the child's other parent. For the child, make sure to take a full face picture every six months, or following any major haircut. Make sure to have information like a current description of the child including height, weight, eye color and any distinguishing characteristics of the child.

The same and more goes for the child's other parent. In addition to an up-to-date description, collect recent photos as often as you can. Social media can be an excellent resource for this. Also, be sure to keep records of any of his or her official documentation, like any drivers license numbers, license plate numbers, social security numbers and banking information you can find, and a description of his or her vehicle. It is also wise to keep contact information for their friends and family and work, especially those that might be out of state or out of the country.

If you fear parental kidnapping, you should not hesitate to speak with an experienced attorney. It is very possible that there are other legal steps you can take to calm your fears and protect your rights, and the rights of your child.

Source: Courts.Ca.gov, "Custody & Parenting Time FAQs," accessed April 21, 2017

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