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Parental Child Abduction

Dallas Lawyers Representing People in Child-Custody Disputes

When people hear that a child has been kidnapped, they often think of a stranger snatching a child from their parents and absconding. Far more frequently, though, kidnappings occur when one parent abducts a child in an attempt to prevent the other parent from seeing the child. Parental child abduction is not only unlawful, but it also it unjustly deprives parties of their parental rights without due process. Thankfully, there are measures parties faced with the actual or potential abduction or their children can take to protect their interests. If you believe your co-parent intends to kidnap your child, or they have already taken your child to another country, it is critical to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. The assertive Dallas child-custody lawyers of McClure Law Group can inform you of your options and aid you in fighting to protect your child from parental abduction.

Texas’ Law Regarding Parental Child Abduction

The Texas Family Code includes provisions regarding the standards for identifying a risk of parental child abduction and the measures the courts can employ to prevent a child from being abducted to another country by one of their parents. Specifically, the law dictates that, if a parent presents credible evidence demonstrating a risk that a parent will abduct a child to another country, the court must determine whether it is necessary to take one or more measures to protect the child.

The measures available include requiring supervised visitation, appointing someone other than the parent who presents a risk of abduction as the child’s sole managing conservator, and enjoining the parent or anyone acting on their behalf from removing the child from school or approaching the child anywhere other than the place designated for visitation. The court may also order travel and passport controls that require the parent to surrender the child’s passport or prohibit the parent from removing the child from the state or country.

In evaluating whether such measures are necessary to prevent parental child abduction, the court will consider what is in the “best interest” of the child, the state’s public policies, the obstacles to recovering the child if they are abducted to another country, and the potential harm the child will suffer if an abduction occurs.

The Hague Convention

If a parent abducts a child to another country, the other parent can take steps to recover the child. The United States is a signatory to the Hague Convention, which is an international treaty that, among other things, provides methods for seeking the expedited return of children internationally abducted from one member country to another.

Analyses under the Hague Convention are fact-intensive and focus on which country is the habitual residence of the child; the custody rights of the parent left behind pursuant to foreign law and the extent to which they exercised their rights; and whether the parent left behind consented to a relocation of the child, either conditionally or definitely. The courts will also assess whether the child has adapted to the new environment, whether they object to being returned, and the age and maturity level of the child. Thus, it is critical for parents whose children have been internationally abducted to promptly seek their return. If the country the child was taken to is not a signatory to the Hague Convention, parents may be able to employ other methods to seek their return, depending on the country.

Speak to an Assertive Dallas Lawyer

Many parents fear their children will be taken from them, and in most cases, the greatest threat of kidnapping arises when parents are involved in a custody dispute. If you have questions regarding preventing parental child abduction or recovering a child that has been unlawfully taken to another country by your co-parent, you should speak to an attorney immediately. The assertive Dallas lawyers of McClure Law Group understand how important it is for parents to protect their rights and access to their children, and, if you hire us, we will advocate zealously on your behalf. Our primary office is in Dallas, and we can meet for consultations by appointment at our Collin-County office in Plano. We frequently represent parties in custody disputes in Dallas, Frisco, Fort Worth, Irving, McKinney, Richardson, Rockwall, and Garland. We also aid people with family-law matters in cities in Dallas, Rockwall, Collin, Denton, Tarrant, and Grayson Counties. You can contact us via our online form or by calling 214.692.8200 to set up a meeting.

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