Parental Abduction At the Holidays

By: Samantha Wilson

We’re well into the holiday season, and I know that for some divorced parents, Christmas break brings fears of parental abduction. From time to time we hear the alarming news about a stranger abduction, but the reality is that they are very rare – most child abductions are by non-custodial parents.

Although non-custodial parental abduction can occur at any time throughout the year, reports of these incidents increase around the holiday season, where family stress can escalate.

If you’re the custodial parent, and have reason to believe there’s a risk of parental abduction:

  • Legally and formally establish all child custody and visitation.
  • Ask that the courts allow supervised access only. Your children will still be allowed to visit the other parent, but only in supervised situations.
  • Don’t allow a non-custodial parent to have access to any of the child’s travel documents such as a passport, birth certificate or visa.
  • Include a provision in the custody order that prohibits any school authority, babysitter or daycare centre from releasing your child to the non-custodial parent without your consent.
  • Use preventative measures such as the Passport Control List (Passport Canada/RCMP), which will prevent a child under the age of 16 from leaving the country.

One of the most difficult parts of divorce is being separated from your children, especially during the holidays. Try to keep the lines of communication open between you and your ex and your children, and remember, you are not alone. Look for support groups in your commuity that will assist you and your family with safety planning throughout the year.

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Service

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