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What to Do if You Think Your Child Might be Kidnapped


What can I do to prevent my child's kidnapping?



The information contained in this hypertext document came from a kidnapping help guide entitled: "Missing and Exploited Children Comprehensive Action Program (M/CAP) What to Do If You Are Concerned That Your Child Might Be Kidnapped." It was written by Gerald L. Nissenbaum and published by the Public Administration Service Special Projects Office in 1994 under the auspices of a grant received from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Introduction

Custody cases are very difficult, but kidnapping cases are even more difficult to resolve. The best thing is to do what is needed to prevent a kidnapping. If a child is kidnapped by a parent, international law is moving toward mandating the return of the child to his or her habitual residence.

You should recognize that the ideas in this publication are not inclusive and that you must hire a matrimonial lawyer who is experienced in this kind of case.

There must be thorough preparation. Careful and accurate pleadings must be filed. And, speed is of the essence. Do not wait to get a lawyer to help. You may need two, three, or several days to get ready to file a court case. By that time, the kidnapper may have moved on and out of reach.

Reading this publication and doing some or all of the things suggested may give you some comfort. If a potential kidnapper reads this publication, it is hoped he or she understands that the law is moving toward the speedy return of kidnapped children and is forcing the kidnapper to pay for the expenses of the other side, including attorney's fees. Beyond that, kidnapping is utterly damaging to a child.

Any parent who kidnaps a child must ask himself or herself if love and protection of the child is the true motive. If so, then go to your local court and seek protection. If you take any other action, your motive is suspect.

If the reader, whether potential kidnapper or left-behind parent, learns nothing else from this publication, let it be that you must consult with a lawyer who is an expert in matrimonial law and experienced in this kind of case. And you must do so as early as possible.