Preventing child abduction

Under legislation co-sponsored by Sen. John Proos, Michigan would give courts pro-active tools to protect children from being abducted by a parent during divorce proceedings.

“One of a parent’s greatest fears is that their child might be kidnapped,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “Alarmingly, child abductions by parents during divorce or custody disputes are a serious problem. I co-sponsored this legislation to empower judges and law enforcement to – if necessary – step in and prevent a parent from abducting a child.”  

Senate Bill 325 would enact the Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act to protect children by creating standards for determining a child’s abduction risk and allowing preventative actions. High risk factors a judge would consider include threats or attempts to abduct the child, strong ties to another country and recent actions like applying for a passport.

“This is an extremely important issue that will help ensure the safety of children by creating standards for determining child abduction risk and allowing preventive actions,” said Cass County Probate Judge Susan L. Dobrich. “Divorce proceedings often are full of emotion; therefore it would be helpful for the court to have specific standards to protect children. As a Family Court judge, I support this legislation.”

Under the bill, if a court determined a credible risk existed that the child would be abducted, it could order prevention measures, such as imposing travel restrictions or placing the child’s name in the U.S. Department of State’s Child Passport Issuance Alert Program. 

If abduction appears imminent a court may make a change in physical custody. 

“In today’s world, you can board a plane and be halfway around the world in a matter of hours. Unfortunately, this means that a parent can kidnap a child in the morning and be in an unfriendly nation by nightfall,” Proos said. “As a father, I strongly support Michigan enacting preventive measures to ensure that no Southwest Michigan parent has to endure the nightmare of having their child abducted — never to be seen again.”


Editor’s Note – Audio comments by Proos will be available this evening on the senator’s website at: Click on “Podcasts.”