"Custody Kidnapping" Is a Huge Problem Over the Holidays, Says Top Family Lawyer

Someone won't be home for the holidays. Call the lawyer. 

Guess what a new holiday trend is? One parent “kidnapping” their kid and not returning them to the parent who has the designated holiday with them.

Sadly, it’s true.

Parents are using the holiday season to take off with their kid and not return them to the parent they are going through a bitter custody battle with.

According to Peter Walzer, founding partner of Walzer Melcher LLP family law firm, “parental kidnapping is super common around the holidays, say, a child goes to Germany to visit and doesn’t come back.”

“It is so common in our world [of family lawyers]. Read any article on the Hague Convention. It’s a treaty which provides an expeditious method to return a child who has been ‘abducted’ to the rightful parent. It’s designed to get illegally detained children back to their home country, Japan just signed on this year.”

Peter says that in many cases, women end up marrying U.S. citizens, then find they want to go home, and bring their child with them. Others, he says, buy round-trip tickets, but fail to take the flight back to the U.S. Yes others have the kid stay during holidays they are supposed to be spending with the other parent. The reasons are endless.

“When this happens, the parents can either come back or the child is ordered returned,” Peter explains.

If that doesn’t happen, it gets ugly. Peter has spent many days accompanying police to the fault parent’s house and watching the child be torn away on a holiday, not understanding what is happening.

“They will be picked up by the police and returned,” he says. “It may be then that you lose custody in the state that the child returned to. I’ve picked up kids many times. You sit outside the house w the police and the child is picked up. On one occasion I had to take custody of the child until the dad flew here from Brazil.”

Peter says custody kidnapping happens because the divorcing parents have “obviously been fighting,” and it sadly often happens on a holiday day.

“That’s often when the child is not returned,” he explains, “and the custody agreement is pretty clear.”

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