As a Maryland Custody lawyer, nothing is more gut wrenching than parental kidnapping. After blogging on the million dollar verdict awarded to Mr. Shannon against his ex wife and her mother for kidnapping his sons to Egypt, I hasten to discuss various tools for preventing international parental kidnapping.
This is of particular concern in locations such as Howard, Anne Arundel, Baltimore and Montgomery Counties that have many residents with strong roots to other nations. Having experience in both recovering children from kidnappings and preventing them, the best legal advice was offered by Ben Franklin when he said “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
“ Tools include prohibiting issuance of a passport for your child or if one has already been issued, limiting its accessibility.
Frequently, the parent who is the potential victim of international parental kidnapping knows intuitively that there is a risk but often is looking for affirmation that their fears are reasonable. Anyone in that position should review the warning signs that your child is at risk for international parental kidnapping and personality profiles of parents who pose an abduction risk. These can be found in the Family Guide to Parental Kidnapping published by the U.S. Department of Justice at pages 11-12.
An important question is whether the foreign country to which a child might be abducted is a signatory to the Hague Conventions. This can be found at http://www.hcch.net.
There are a wide variety of preventative tools that you and your attorney will want to consider. They include prohibiting issuance of a passport for your child or if one has already been issued, limiting its accessibility. Some other steps are to obtain a court order prohibiting removal of the child from the state or the country, requiring posting of a bond, or requiring supervised visitation. If your child is going to be visiting a foreign country you may insist that a “mirror” court order be entered by the courts of that country.