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Child Custody & Flight Risk: 3 Steps You Need to Take to Ensure Your Child's Safety

If your child's other parent is at risk of fleeing from the state or the country with your child, you're likely wondering what you can do to keep from losing your son or daughter. Below is an outline of the three most important first steps to take when facing a risk of parental abduction.

1. Secure Your Child's Passport

Passports cannot be issued or renewed without the approval of both parents, but if your child currently has a valid passport and you have reason to believe your ex is an international flight risk, there are things you can do to secure the passport so your child cannot leave the country.

If you currently have access to your child's passport, it's important that you keep it in a locked safety box. A bank lock box will provide you with the most security. If your ex does have access to the passport, the only thing you can do is request that your ex be required to surrender the passport to the state. You will need evidence that there is a flight risk, such as a recent text communication that includes a threat of leaving the country.

2. Consult with an Attorney

It's important to find a knowledgeable and experienced attorney when going through a custody battle, but this is especially important when your child's other parent poses a flight risk.

If you fear that your ex may intend to kidnap your child, your attorney will work with you to collect the proper evidence and ensure the safety of your child. The evidence that you and your attorney present to the judge may be enough to limit your child's other parent to supervised visitation or even to get you full physical custody. Your attorney will provide you with invaluable advice, such as remembering to document every court order that your ex violates (like not returning the child to you during your scheduled visitation) and keeping copies of all written communication between you and your ex regarding your custody case.

3. Request an Emergency Hearing

If your ex currently has unsupervised visitation with your child and you believe that your ex has the intention to flee the state or the country without your or the court's knowledge or approval, you can request an emergency custody hearing.

At this hearing, you'll be required to provide evidence that your ex-partner poses a flight risk. Evidence can be in the form of written communications from your ex (text messages, emails, letters) that state your ex's intentions, statements that your child has made to you, or documents proving your ex's intended move, such as the purchase of one-way plane tickets. If the courts find the risk of parental abduction high, you may be given temporary sole custody of your child until a permanent order can be issued.

To learn more about parental abduction and what you can do if you fear your ex is a flight risk, consult with a child custody lawyer from a firm like Law Offices of Gordon Liebmann immediately.