Some divorce cases are nastier than others. If you won a custody battle against your ex-spouse, your ex could take matters into his or her own hands. This could lead to the terrifying reality of parental abduction.
The first steps you take after realizing an ex-spouse has abducted your children are critical. Acting fast and notifying the right parties could make all the difference. Having a child abduction response plan in place could help you prepare for the worst.
As difficult as it seems, try to remain calm and in control during a child abduction emergency. Take deep breaths and call someone you trust to help you during this difficult time. Try not to panic or think about worst-case scenarios.
Call the authorities the moment you realize your children are not where they should be. If someone else has picked your children up from school, for example, and you suspect parental abduction, call 911 and report the emergency. Include as much detail as possible in your initial police report. Anything you say could help the police locate your ex-spouse and children.
Invest in legal remedies
Help ensure your child's safe return by hiring a lawyer with experience handling parental abduction cases. A law firm could help protect your rights and the rights of your children during this frightening time. A lawyer could also connect you to professional investigators who could help locate your children.
File criminal charges
Once your children are back home safe, file criminal charges against your ex. The penalties for parental abduction can be severe in Florida. A criminal conviction could ensure your ex-spouse stays away from you and your children. The courts may grant a protective order that states your ex must cut off contact with you and the kids. Pressing criminal charges can show your ex that parental abduction is a serious matter.