State Rep. Deberah Kula


Kula bill would prevent parental child abduction


HARRISBURG, Jan. 25 – State Rep. Deberah Kula has introduced legislation aimed at preventing parental child abduction.


This legislation would create guidelines for Pennsylvania courts to follow in custody disputes that involve a parent or guardian deemed at risk of abducting a child.


In 2006, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws met and drafted the Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act in order to assist states in helping to prevent these abductions.


"It is important that Pennsylvania join other states that have already enacted Uniform Child Abduction Prevention laws," said Kula, D-Fayette/Westmoreland. "My legislation would accomplish that, and help to prevent such abductions from happening in the Commonwealth."


Courts would be able to consider risk factors such as a previous attempt or threat to abduct a child, an attempt to obtain a child’s birth certificate, school, or medical records, sudden applications for passports or visas and strong family, financial, or cultural ties to a foreign country.


In cases in which a court deems that there is a risk of abduction, a parent would be able to petition the court to order a number of anti-abduction measures, including restricting the travel of the child when the child is with the other parent, restricting access to the child by the other parent and requiring the other parent to surrender any passport or visa held for the child.