If you share custody of your child or have concerns that your son or daughter may be at risk of abduction by your ex-spouse or partner, there are specific steps you can take to minimize the risk. With our significant experience in domestic and international child abduction matters, we at Feldstein Family Law Group P.C. can offer valuable guidance on this important subject. Take this opportunity to review the information on this website, or contact our firm for a free, confidential analysis of your case.
Contact an Ontario child abduction lawyer at (905) 581-7222 for your free consultation.
Preventing Parental Child Abduction: What You Can Do
The first step you can take in preventing parental child abduction is to try and work out custody and access arrangements with your former spouse/partner to which you are both agreeable. In so doing, you are minimizing conflict and eliminating any motivation he or she may have to abduct your child.
If at any time you fear that your child may be abducted, contact a lawyer and inform the police so that they may advise you of any preliminary steps that may be taken to facilitate locating your child in the case of abduction. This fear may be heightened if your spouse is a dual citizen or has a large number of family members residing in a different province or country. Consequently, you should keep lines of communication open with your spouse’s relatives in other provinces or countries. You should keep current with all of his or her information, i.e. place of employment, telephone number, house address, etc. Also, ensure that you have recent, color photographs of your child and that he or she knows how to use the telephone and remembers any and all important contact numbers.
Another step you should take is to ensure that your custody order is incredibly detailed and specific and outlines all the rights to custody or access that are afforded to both parents. It should also stipulate a prohibition on travel without the permission of both parents or the court, and the surrender of all travel documents to the custodial parent.
Other precautions against parental child abduction include:
- Deposit of child’s passport or other travel documents with the court;
- A statement, included in the order, that, should the child be abducted, the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction will apply (provided the country is a signatory and in agreement with Canada); and
- Provisions for a bond to be posted whenever the child travels to another country with the non-custodial parent. This bond would then be forfeited to the other parent should the child be abducted or wrongfully retained.
Ensure that you have made several copies of the order once it has been obtained and disperse it among any authorities that may be acting in loco parentis, such as your child’s school, a doctor, etc.
Put Your Child’s Name on the Passport Control List
You may also want to place your child’s name on the Passport Control List, which will put officials on alert anytime your child travels and consequently uses his or her passport. In order to do so you may contact the office of Passport Canada. You should be aware of the fact that only a custodial parent can place his or her child’s name on the control list.
Helpful Checklists in the Event of Child Abduction
The government of Canada’s manual entitled International Child Abductions: A Manual for Parents offers the following checklists regarding information that you should have at all times and which you should compile if your child is abducted.
Serving Clients Across Markham, Vaughan, Mississauga & Oakville
Feldstein Family Law Group P.C. has been helping parents with child abduction cases since 1994. We are accessible, responsive, and dedicated to the rapid and safe return of your child. These are complex proceedings, but our knowledge of applicable laws enables us to take the appropriate steps to get your child back.
Do not wait for skilled legal representation – call (905) 581-7222 today.