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The risk of parental abduction: How likely is it?

Sometimes, a parent who is engaged in a volatile and bitter custody battle will momentarily lose all sense of perspective and decide that abducting the child is a wiser course of action than trying to fight about it in court.

What are some of the risk factors that indicate it could happen to you and your child?

If you're the child's biological mother, you stand a bigger chance of being victimized this way, statistically, than any other group. Biological mothers abduct their own children only 25 percent of the time. Male parental figures are generally responsible for two out of every three abductions. Biological fathers are behind parental abductions 53 percent of the time, and grandparents are the abductors 14 percent of the time. Other close relatives that have served as caretakers, like step-parents or biological aunts and uncles, account for the remaining 8 percent of abductions.

Most of the time, abductions are impulsive and emotional, rather than carefully planned out. Often, the abductor may be scared that he or she is about to lose all custody or visitation rights, which makes abduction seem like it's a somehow reasonable course of action -- which is probably why the majority of abductions happen right after a court-ordered change in parenting or visitation.

The information we know about parental abduction isn't all bad, however. For example, it's important to keep in mind that almost all of the children -- 94 percent -- who are abducted by a parental figure are eventually returned to their legal custodian. Almost half of those will be returned within the first week after the abduction once tempers cool and reality starts to sink in around the abductor.

If you are concerned about the possibility of a parental abduction because your child's other parent, grandparent or some other relative has made threats, discuss the situation with your attorney and ask what can be done to limit the possibility until tempers cool down. Sometimes supervised visitation may be in order for a while. For more information on how our law firm may be able to assist you in custody matters, please visit our website.

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