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Parental abduction: What you need to know

Your ex-husband picked up your daughter on Friday. Your custody agreement states that he gets her every other weekend. Usually, he brings her back on Sunday evening, but he called last night and said he would like to keep her one more night and he would take her to school on Monday. The request was not typical, but after you spoke with your daughter, you agreed to the extra night.

You waited outside for the bus to drop her off after school, but when it stopped to let the other kids out, your daughter was not among them. You immediately called your ex, but he did not answer. You drove to his house and saw that no one was home.

Your worst nightmare had come true. Your husband had kidnapped your daughter and he had had almost 24 hours to get out of Texas. He could be almost anywhere.

Fortunately, you do have legal remedies to recover your child. There are family laws that will help you to avoid future incidents once your child is safely back in your care. For advice on changing your custody order with the court, contact a Pearland attorney with experience in child custody cases.

Law enforcement and private investigators

While law enforcement usually does not like getting involved in family issues, they are often the only option when there is a kidnapping or domestic violence. When a parent abducts a child, they typically cross state lines or borders. This requires the involvement of local, state, and federal authorities. The officers will conduct a search and once they find your child, the justice system will deal with the consequences.

If you are worried about the red tape that comes with dealing with government employees, you may consider hiring a private investigator. These professionals can often devote more time and resources because overtime restrictions and jurisdiction does not limit their search efforts.

Changing the custody order

After you have found your daughter and brought her safely home, it is time to take steps to prevent a future abduction. By taking your child outside of the state without your permission, your ex has more than likely violated the court custody order. This will be damaging to his future custody rights. It is possible that the court will eliminate, either temporarily or permanently, his custody and visitation rights. He may also be facing large fines and jail time.

If your ex has kidnapped your child, or you believe there is a risk of kidn apping, take the necessary steps to change your custody order with the court.

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Board Certified | Texas Board of Legal Specialization | Family Law

John Powell, III is Board Certified in Family Law ~ Texas Board of Legal Specialization

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