Decoding the Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act – Part II

The Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act was promulgated by the Uniform Law Commission in 2006 and subsequently adopted by the state of Florida in order to deter and prevent the abduction of children after divorce and award of child custody. Stemming from the provisions of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement and further strengthening it, the UCAPA is applicable to both domestic and international abduction of children, which was discussed in the previous post.

According to the UCAPA, a court, a custodial parent, or any other person who has justifiable reasons or a public prosecutor can bring action over the domestic or international abduction of a child. That party must file a petition in court, specifying the risk factors and demographic details of the child and the person against whom protection is sought. The person or party filing the petition for protection may also have to provide any other additional information required under the UCCJEA.

If the court determines the threat of abduction as genuine, it may issue an order that details the various measures that are to be taken to prevent the abduction of the child. For example, the court could prohibit the suspected individual from relocating the child from a specific geographical area, or it may impose travel restrictions. The court might also add the child’s name to the U.S. Department of State’s Child Passport Issuance Alert Program, or ask the individual for an order from another country that details the identical child custody arrangements.

Per the UCAPA, an order for protection from abduction could have an expiration date. However, it will also terminate upon the child’s emancipation or 18th birthday, or if the order is revoked, modified, or withdrawn. The act also gives powers to the court to take physical custody of the child if abduction is imminent. The court can also issue directive to local police to locate and return the child or take other action available under state law.