Jones bill seeks to protect children from abduction

Legislation aimed at protecting children from being abducted by parents during divorce proceedings was recently introduced in the Michigan Senate, said sponsor state Sen. Rick Jones.

“As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, one of my jobs is to work with judges, prosecutors, and the State Bar to make Michigan a safer place,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “One of the problems throughout the state and the nation is parental child abduction.  Whenever parents start divorce proceedings this is always a danger.  Some countries in the world do not recognize United States law.  So, if a parent flees this country with a child the other parent may never see them again.”

Senate Bill 325 would establish the Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act. The act is intended to prevent the abduction of children by establishing standards for determining whether a child is at risk for abduction and by providing remedies to prevent it.

“In the opinion of the family law section of the State Bar, this legislation is vital to protecting children from being abducted by a parent,” Jones said. “My legislation empowers judges to order abduction prevention measures in child custody when evidence of a credible risk of child abduction is established.”

If a court determines that a credible risk exists that the child will be abducted, it may then order provisions and measures to prevent abduction.  These provisions include travel restrictions, prohibiting the individual from removing the child from the state, or placing the child’s name in the United States Department of State’s Child Passport Issuance Alert Program.  If abduction appears imminent a court may make a change in physical custody. 

Warning signs of possible abductions could be a parent suddenly getting passports for children, threatening to abduct a child, undergoing a change in citizenship status and other high risk factors.