In 2007 Governor Ritter signed a
bill into law entitled the "Uniform Child Abduction
Prevention Act". The purpose of the Act is to deter domestic
and international child abductions by parents or persons
acting on behalf of parents, before during or following
The UCAPA gives Colorado Courts broad powers to impose
abduction prevention measures at any time.
This Act fills a void by identifying circumstances
indicating a risk of abduction and providing measures to
prevent the abduction of children. The Act can also apply in
pre-decree and intrastate cases.
If you have the right to seek a child custody determination
then you have the right to ask a Colorado Court for remedies
under the UCAPA. The Court can also, on it's own motion
during a child custody proceeding, order abduction
prevention measures if it feels there is evidence to show a
credible risk of abduction.
The following factors are looked at by the Court to
determine if there is a credible risk of abduction:
1. Previous abduction or
2. Threat of abduction
3 Has recently engaged in
activities that indicate a planned abduction including:
Selling a primary residence
Terminating a lease
Closing bank or other
financial accounts, liquidating assets, hiding or
destroying financial documents
Applying for a passport or
Visa for self or family members
Seeking the child's birth
certificate or school or medical records
Has engaged in domestic
violence, abuse, stalking or child abuse or neglect
Not following child custody
Lacks strong familial,
financial, emotional, or cultural ties to the state or
Has strong familial,
financial ,emotional, or cultural ties to another state
Is likely to take the child
to a country that is not part of the Hague Convention
and does not provide for the extradition of an abducting
parent or for the return of an abducted child, lacks
legal mechanisms for immediately and effectively
enforcing a return order or poses a risk to the child
emotional or physical health.
. Is likely to take the
child to a country that has practices that would enable
the person taking the child to prevent the other parent
from contacting the child, restricts the child's ability
to leave the country after the child reaches the age of
majority due to gender or religion, restricts the
parent's ability to travel freely or leave the country
due to gender, nationality or religion, is a sponsor of
terrorism, does not have a US diplomatic presence or is
engaged in a military action or war to which the child
could be exposed.
Has had US citizenship
Is undergoing a change in
immigration status that would effect the parent's
ability to stay in the US.
Has used multiple names in
an attempt to mislead or defraud.
Has forged or presented
misleading or false evidence on government forms.
Any other conduct the Court
feels is relevant to the risk of abduction.
At the hearing the Court will consider any evidence that the
respondent believed in good faith that the respondent's
conduct was necessary to avoid imminent harm to the child or
If the Court finds that there
is a credible risk of abduction, it has broad powers to
order restrictions to prevent abduction. These include:
Travel restriction outside
of a given geographical area.
Requiring a travel itinerary
including a list of addresses and telephone numbers
where the child can be reached at specified times.
Copies of all travel
A prohibition from removing
the child from the state or geographical area, or from
school or approaching the child at any location other
than a site designated for supervised visitation or
A requirement that the Court
Order be registered in the state the child will be
traveling to before the child can travel with the parent
to that state.
Surrendering the child's
passport and/or a prohibition from obtaining a new or
replacement passport for the child.
Requirement that Court Order
detailing passport and travel restrictions for the child
be filed with the US State Department Office of
Children's Issues and the relevant foreign consulate or
A limitation on visitation
or parenting time or requirements that time be
supervised until the Court finds it is no longer
A requirement that a bond be
posted or other security provided to serve as a
financial deterrent to abduction.
To prevent imminent abduction
of a child the Court may:
Issue a warrant to take
physical custody of the child.
Direct the use of law
enforcement to take any action reasonably necessary to
locate the child, obtain return of the child, or enforce
a custody determination under the law of this state or
Grant any other relief
allowed under the law of this state other than this
As you can see, the Court can do
what is necessary to prevent abduction. The court can impose
any number of remedies as necessary. Once you get over the
credible risk of abduction standard the Court can do what is
necessary to protect the child from the abduction.
This Act is a very powerful tool. Consult your attorney as
soon as you suspect a possible abduction. Do not wait. A
study commissioned by the Office of Juvenile Justice and
Delinquency Prevention estimated that 262,100 US children
were abducted in 1999; 78% of them were abducted by a parent
or family member and approximately 1000 abductions were
If you would like to ask one of
our attorneys a question about parental kidnapping
or skip that step and come in for
a consultation, we encourage you to do so. The longer
you wait to speak to a Colorado family law attorney the
higher your chances are of inadvertently giving up your
What makes Matthews &
Matthews a better choice to help you with enforcing your