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Thursday November 4, 10:13 am Eastern Time

Company Press Release

Many of Nation's Top Divorce Lawyers Say They Have Experienced Parental Abduction of Children in Their Practices

Problem Widespread

CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 4, 1999--Four in 10 of the nation's top divorce and matrimonial lawyers attending an annual meeting here say they have had a case in the last three years where a child was abducted by one of the divorcing or divorced parents.

The abductions have lasted from several days to several years and beyond. In at least nine cases cited by the attorneys, the child is still at large.

``The abduction of children by one parent of a divorcing or divorced couple continues to be one of the most pernicious and difficult problems in divorce,'' according to George S. Stern of Atlanta, the president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the nation's top divorce and matrimonial law attorneys.

Divorce attorneys say the law enforcement agencies need to place greater emphasis on such incidents, there needs to be more uniformity in dealing with such incidents as well as stronger action by the courts in terms of contempt citations and civil penalties.

The problem of parental child abduction and how to cope with it is a major program of the Academy this Thursday, where 300 divorce attorneys are attending the Academy's annual meeting.

If you believe your child is in danger of being abducted by the other parent, you should:

1) Discuss your concerns and the reasons for your concerns with your attorney.

2) If there is factual evidence that indicates your child may be abducted, upon the advice of your lawyer, you should probably seek a strong restraining order from the court against the possible abduction, and this order should be shared with law enforcement authorities.

3) If your child is abducted, not only should law enforcement officials be notified, but the information should be entered in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) computer. The attorneys also say that divorcing couples should seek wherever possible to come to a mutual agreement regarding custody and visitation issues versus litigating those issues in court. ``A child is part mommy and part daddy and needs both parents. Custody and visitation agreements that are agreed to by both parties are the ones most frequently followed,'' according to Stern.

The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers is composed of the nation's top 1,500 matrimonial attorneys who are the recognized experts in the specialized field of matrimonial law, including divorce, prenuptial agreements, legal separation, annulment, custody, property valuation and division, support and the rights of unmarried cohabitors.

The purpose of the Academy is to encourage the study, improve the practice, elevate the standards and advance the cause of matrimonial law.


Contact:
     The Dilenschneider Group, Inc.
     Jonathan Dedmon, 312/553-0700

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