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How can UCAPA prevent abduction in child custody disputes?

Spouses, including those in Texas, sometimes forget about the best interests of the child in a divorce. They are often caught in a harsh war of words and forget that their fights can have an indelible psychological impact on the children. Child custody often turns out to be a concern among warring couples. Sometimes, to take revenge on the other partner, a spouse abducts the child. In fact, cases of child abduction across international borders are on the rise.

In order to address the issue, the Uniform Law Commission has come up with the Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act. This is expected to provide states with a tool to stop child abduction in child custody dispute cases. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, there are more than 200,000 cases of child abductions every year. Also, every year, approximately 1,000 children are taken out of the country. The UCAPA is designed to prevent such abductions in the event of a child custody dispute.

As the ULC suggests, it is important for states, including Texas, to adopt the UCAPA so that there is conformance with Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, which helps return abducted children to their home states. Nearly 50 percent of the child abduction cases occur before the final child custody decree. There needs to be uniformity in the laws across the states as child abductions occur across the states as well.

The UCAPA also provides guidance on what could trigger child abduction. Quitting a job, liquidation of assets and obtaining travel documents are some of the indications that child abduction may occur. The UCAPA also addresses some unique problems of child abduction, such as the difference between states that have adopted conventions related to child abductions and those that have not.

Source: Uniform Law Commission, "Why States Should Adopt The Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act," Accessed on Feb.12, 2015

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