Divorce can be an excruciating process on its own; when children are involved, this process can become all the more challenging. But for some Michigan parents, the nightmare does not end when the divorce and child custody papers are finalized. Parental kidnapping can occur before this process is even over, and for many, the initial abduction of a son or daughter is only the beginning of a long and exhausting investigation. International parental kidnapping, however, is another story.
In a series of articles, The Detroit News shared the heartbreaking account of one Michigan father who faced this reality. By 2016, the man had gone over three years without seeing his two sons because his wife internationally abducted them. The mother masked the abduction with a trip to Mexico, where she claimed the three would spend time visiting her parents. Unfortunately, the father later discovered this was not the case. This situation is just one of many examples of international jurisdiction differences that can arise, as well; at the time of the article, a Mexican federal court ordered the man's wife to return their sons. Another court requested assistance from the FBI to help the desperate father, but the result of those efforts are unclear.
Many parents go through this nightmare -- and sadly, these cases are difficult for various reasons -- but the U.S. Department of State outlines the severity of this crime. The department directs any parent who suspects their ex-partner has abducted their child to contact the Office of Children's Issues. From there, parents may obtain a court order, reach out to law enforcement or contact airlines. The department makes clear that the U.S. has no exit controls, and that with proper enforcement on duty, the chances of returning a child home can become all the more likely.