Even after the divorce has been finalized, an individual’s emotions may, at times, overwhelm his or her otherwise sound reason and judgment — especially when it comes to the children. One parent may ignore a court-ordered child custody agreement and simply take the kids and run away. For New York custodial parents facing such a horrific event, there are legal options available to get their kids back when a child custody dispute has gone awry.

To begin with, contacting law enforcement is often the best remedy to address a possible kidnapping. Child abduction is against the law in New York and may also be in violation of federal law. Law enforcement authorities, including the FBI, typically take these matters seriously and will act with haste, often making use of the Amber Alert program.

Even before children are located and returned, it is possible for the remaining parent to seek an emergency custody hearing or an immediate change to an existing custody order. For those with an already established custody agreement, if one parent were to absconded with the children, he or she could be considered in violation of the court-ordained custody order, as well as responsible for denying the other parent his or her custody rights. Such violations may result in the temporary or, at times, permanent elimination of his or her custody rights, and he or she may be ordered to pay substantial fines or face incarceration.

It is true that child custody issues can be incredibly trying on every party involved, and sticking to a custody agreement may prove too difficult for some at times. In the event this results in a kidnapping, certain steps can be taken to ensure children are returned and custody orders are obtained or modified. An experienced New York family law attorney can assist a parent through this type of trying circumstance by assessing his or her legal options and helping him or her fight to achieve the best possible custody arrangements for his or her children.

Source: FindLaw, “What Legal Remedies are Available if a Parent Abducts a Child?“, Accessed on Sept. 6, 2016