You and your ex had an agreement about custody and parenting time that became part of your divorce decree.  Or maybe you were never married, but came to an agreement which you have been following on your own.  Regardless of the arrangement, you suddenly realize that your ex has failed to return the children at the agreed upon time.  At first you think it is just a mistake, a misunderstanding, they changed the time and you forgot, or perhaps you are in the wrong location for the exchange.  A million things run through your mind.  Your ex isn’t answering their phone so you call their family, friends and relatives in an attempt to find the children.  Nobody either knows or will tell you where your ex and the children are.  Your ex is now many, many hours late for the exchange.  What should you do?

This is a frightening situation.  Sometimes it truly is just a misunderstanding, your ex got his/her days and hours mixed up.  Sometimes though, your ex has taken the children with no intention of ever returning them to you, and in fact plans to go into hiding.  Sometimes there were signs, things he/she was doing that may have tipped you off if you had picked up on them.  Sometimes not. 

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children 

Regardless, once you know the children have been taken with the intent to conceal them from you for the indefinite future, you should first call 911to report the abduction.  Then, the very next place you should call is the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST.  Otherwise known as NCMEC.  Staff members at NCMEC are experts and can immediately provide you with advice regarding your next step.  NCMEC has a wonderful website loaded with information and resources for individuals dealing with family abductions, including a very detailed handbook explaining everything involved with protecting your child from an abduction, as well as how to recover your children if they have already been abducted.  Once you have contacted local law enforcement and NCMEC regarding the abduction, you should contact an experienced family law attorney to assist you with the legal actions necessary to secure the return of your children.