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The facts of using an Amber Alert

If your child goes missing after a visitation arrangement, the last thing that you want to think of is that your child could be the victim of parental kidnapping. If you think this is what happened to you, one of the things that the government and local authorities can do for you is to issue an Amber Alert.

With the help of an Amber Alert, people including police and civilians in an area are told about a missing child. How soon can this alert be issued, though? What are the specialty rules behind it? Here's a rundown of how an Amber Alert works.

First, law enforcement must believe that the child has been abducted by a parent or another party. The child must be 17 or younger at the time of the abduction, and the investigating agency must believe the child is in imminent danger of injury or death. If there is unlikely to be a risk to your child, then the authorities may pursue other methods of locating him or her and bringing your child home.

The Amber Alert cannot be issued until your child's name and other critical data has been entered into the National Crime Information Center system. This system delivers all of the information around the country to all law enforcement agencies. That means that there has to be sufficient information about the child's appearance and other details to give the public an idea of where to look and what to look for.

In the meantime, you can reach out to a family law attorney to start a case for child custody to be put into your name or to restrict custody to the other parent. This violation could help you seek sole custody.

Source: The Ledger Enquirer, "Who decides when and where to issue an AMBER alert?," Tim Chitwood, Oct. 12, 2016

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