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What can the courts do to prevent parental child abduction?

Many Texas couples may find it difficult to negotiate a child custody agreement during a divorce. In some cases, one parent may decide to abduct the child and take him or her out of the state or even the country if the case is not going the way that he or she planned or if he or she wishes to hurt the other parent. If there is a risk of international abduction, the court has the authority to reduce the risk by putting certain preventative measures into place.

There are many questions that the court may ponder to determine if there is a risk of international abduction, including whether a parent refuses to give the other parent access to the child when he or she has legal rights to access of the child, whether a parent threatens to refuse access to a child or whether the parent was involved in activities that could lead to him or her taking the child out of the country, such as quitting a job or closing bank accounts.

Depending upon the circumstances, there are many different measures to reduce the risk of child abduction that a court may put into place. These include requiring the parent to surrender the child's passport so that he or she cannot leave the country, keeping the parent from applying for a new or a replacement passport or requiring the parent to transfer the amount of money it would be estimated to recover the child into a deposit security or bond. In severe cases, law enforcement agencies may also intervene, or a third party may be named as a sole conservator if it is deemed to be in the best interests of the child.

Because all child custody cases are unique, this blog post should not be taken as legal advice. An attorney may determine if there is a risk of abduction in your case and present the evidence to the court if needed. If preventative measures are enacted, the attorney could present evidence of violations, which could result in successfully protecting both you and your child's rights.

Source: Family Code, "Title 5. Chapter 153. Conservatorship, Possession, and Access", October 10, 2014

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