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International child abductions have complications

Alaska parents may have heard that an estimated 8,000 children across the nation have been abducted by a parent between 2008 and 2013, with more than 1,000 children being reported missing each year. Many parents attempt to take the children out of the country, which can make it very difficult for the other parent to recover their child. In fact, it is believed that only half of the abducted children ever return to the U.S.

In 1980, international abductions were recognized as a problem at the Hague Conference on Private International Law. As of 2015, 93 countries have signed the resulting treaty in which they have agreed to assist in the return of children who were wrongfully taken out of their home country. However, a spokesperson for a U.S. congressman stated that it can be difficult to negotiate with other countries on international custody cases, especially when public perception, aid and trade could be affected. Further, these international cases often involve parents traveling back and forth between the countries, which can be quite expensive.

The consequences that parents who illegally take their children out of the country face can be extremely severe. For example, a woman who was accused of taking her then-8-year-old daughter to Costa Rica potentially faces three felony charges for custodial interference, which could result in seven years in prison per charge if she is convicted.

There are some parents who wish to avoid sharing custody of their children with the other parent. In some cases, these parents attempt to take their children out of the country. A family law attorney can potentially assist in these types of cases by providing support and working with officials who may track down where the child was taken.

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