Parental Child Abduction – More Than a Legal Issue

November 25 , 2014


Kidnapping of any form is driven by a strong ulterior motive. But it takes more complex overtones when the victims are children, and the perpetrators are their own parents.


The number of parental child abduction cases has more than doubled over the last decade. And almost 80% of the abductors are non-custodial parents.

While this might place the blame squarely on the non-custodial parents, the situation on the ground is much more complex. Divorces and legal separations take a heavy emotional toll on both the parents. The children invariably face collateral emotional trauma that could affect them for years.

There are three distinct possibilities to any parental abduction. One is the possibility of being wrongly accused for a kidnapping. Second, the parent might have acted in the interest and wellbeing of the child. In other words, the act of abduction itself might have been to safeguard the child from physical or emotional harm. And finally, wrongful, illegal abduction, in violation of the rights of the parent’s rights of custody and access to the child.

In all three cases, it is important to consider and choose from a wide range of legal recourses, both before and after the incident.


For example, parents caught in a difficult custodial dispute could first file a complaint for divorce, followed by an injunction saying that the child cannot be removed from the state. While this is not something that one cannot circumvent, it is definitely a good start.

Even in the absence of such an injunction, parents could consider the Hague Convention, an international agreement that came together for the sole purpose of addressing the problem of parental abductions.

In a relevant portion, the Convention provides for the return of a child who has been wrongfully removed by a parent from his or her country of habitual residence against the other parent’s custodial rights. The child is to be returned to his or her home country until a final determination is made with regard to the child’s custody and visitation.

But in addition to legal recourse, a deeper understanding of the issue must arise among the parents involved and the society as a whole. While the parents are bound to undergo emotional stress, it is the children on whom it will tell the most. They not only have to deal with the stress of the parents’ separation, but also with feelings of insecurity, fright and the Stockholm syndrome that is bound to impact their impressionable psyche.

Which is why one needs an attorney who is not just adept at the legal proceedings, but exhibits genuine empathy for the client. Attorney at law Shana J. Black is an ideal example of a lawyer who aggressively represents the interests of the client without underplaying the emotional ramifications. It is due to this unique work ethic that she has had phenomenal success in bringing back children to the rightful parent.

About Shana J. Black
Attorney Shana J. Black is a San Diego based lawyer who has championed numerous cases for the underdog. Her legal repertoire is extensive and her client base is varied.

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