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Understanding the Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act, Part II

As noted in a previous blog, the model Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act was put forth by the Uniform Law Commission in 2006 and subsequently adopted by Tennessee to discourage and prevent the abduction of children. The act applies to both domestic and international abductions and is a logical extension if the provisions of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement, which also has been adopted by Tennessee.

According to the UCAPA, a court, prosecutor, custodial parent or any other person with justifiable reasons can pursue action over both domestic and international child abductions. The party seeking protection from abduction must file a petition in court that specifies the risk factors and identifying information about the child and the person against whom protection is being sought. Additional information also may be required per the UCCJEA.

If a court reviews the petition and finds that the threat of abduction is genuine, it can issue an order that details the various means and methods to be employed to prevent the child's abduction. The court can impose travel restrictions on the individual of interest, prohibit the person from relocating the child from a specific area, 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 identical child custody arrangements.

An order for protection from abduction is valid until either the child's 18th birthday or emancipation or until the order is amended, withdrawn or vacated. The UCAPA also empowers a court to take a child into state custody if abduction is imminent and ask law enforcement officers to protect, locate and return the child or take other appropriate legally sanctioned action. An order for officers to take a child into physical custody is enforceable across state lines.

Source: Uniform Law Commission, "Child Abduction Prevention Summary," Accessed on Feb. 11, 2015

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