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Kidnapping: a Family Affair

Did you know that according to the FBI's National Crime Information Center, 49% of child abductions are committed by family members? Most often it is one of the child's parents.

How can you minimize the risk of parental kidnapping? 

A parenting plan is one of the key tools that can reduce the risk of parental kidnapping and protect you and your child if parental kidnapping ever occurs. 

A parenting plan sets out which parent will have custody of the child on a day-to-day basis and during holidays. Why does this matter? The sad reality is that children are abducted by their parents. Based on the FBI's National Crime Information Center, 49% of child abductions are committed by family. Most often it is one the child's parents. Biological fathers are responsible for 53% of the parental child abduction cases that occur. Biological mothers are responsible for 25% of them. About 8 out of 10 parents who choose to abduct their child do so with the intent to affect custodial privileges permanently.

What does this mean for you? Children are kidnapped regardless of whether a parenting plan is in place. But having a parenting plan in place gives you enforceable legal boundaries that protect both parents and the children.

If two parents were married, they will obtain a parenting plan through the divorce process. However, unmarried parents can separate without the court getting involved, which means that unmarried parents do not automatically get a parenting plan and may not realize why having one can be so important. 

Without a parenting plan in place, the police are unlikely to get involved because they view this as a family matter because there is no court order being violated. Unmarried fathers in particular will have virtually no enforceable custody rights without a parenting plan and court order establishing their paternity. Having a parenting plan minimizes the risk of parental kidnapping because both the police and court will get involved to enforce a court-approved parenting plan. 


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