Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznare
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Parental Kidnapping

From the Washington Post:

When my client told me her abusive ex-boyfriend had shown up after a long absence, beaten her and kidnapped their children, I assumed the police would respond quickly and issue Amber alerts. But a D.C. police officer refused even to write a report, dismissing the complaint as a “private family matter” and opining, “What safer place for the children than with their dad?”

We were met with similar indifference from the child-abduction unit supervisor, who pondered, “Isn’t possession nine-tenths of the law?” (No, it’s not.)

The reaction of the judge in the family court’s domestic violence unit was equally alarming. She incorrectly questioned whether she had jurisdiction, now that the children were several states away. And when she learned that my client had declined her ex-boyfriend’s marriage proposal, and that he’d texted that if she wanted to see their children again she would agree to marry him, the judge said, “Aw, it sounds like he’s just heartbroken.”

Eventually, persuaded by my clinical law student’s recitation of the applicable law and by my client’s visible bruises, the judge entered a temporary protection order that awarded my client custody of the children. After several days on the road, the ex-boyfriend said he would return with the children if my client would not pursue criminal charges for abduction. She desperately wanted her children back home with her and readily agreed.

Read more here.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/family_law/2017/08/parental-kidnapping.html

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