One of the biggest concerns that some parents in Illinois may have is parental abduction. This can occur for a number of reasons but if it does happen, it can leave the other parent in a state of turmoil and fear over the child’s safety. Therefore, it is important for all parents to understand what it is, so they can prevent it from happening.
According to the Illinois General Assembly, there are a number of ways a parent could be guilty of parental child abduction. One specific situation involves a parent who keeps a child away from the other parent for at least 15 days without letting the other parent know the child's whereabouts. Do note this applies to situation where the parents are or were married, and there is no court order of custody. Other situations that would be considered parental abduction include when a child is not returned after visitation or is taken without consent. Any situation that violates a court order of custody can be considered abduction, but there are exceptions, such as when domestic violence is involved.
In many cases, there is a solid reason why a parent abducts their own child. The Polly Klaas Foundation outlines the top reasons for parental abduction. One that may not happen as often but that is very compelling is the child is being abused, neglected or molested by the other parent and the taking of the child is for protection.. More common reasons include being afraid of losing their rights to see their child, trying to prolong contact with the other parent, using it as a way to get the other parent to get back together, and doing it to get back at or hurt the other parent.
Preventing parental abduction is not always easy. Parents have to follow court orders, so a parent who is afraid the other parent might take the child may have little control. The only exception is when there have been threats made or other concerns have been reported to authorities. In such cases, parents may be able to petition the court to change the current order to one that eliminates contact between the other parent and the child.