When a noncustodial parent is on the run with their child, it's a scary time for the custodial parent. While most cases are resolved without violence, there have been too many high-profile cases where the deranged parent chose to end their child's life rather than return them to their ex.
In most situations, you will want to notify law enforcement immediately upon learning that your child will not be returned to your custody. If there is no custody order in place, it can be more challenging for the police to get involved because it's assumed that both parents have equal rights to their child. "That's a civil matter," is a common response.
However, if the welfare of a child is at stake, the police can take action. It's generally a good idea to work closely with your Orange County family law attorney during this crucial time. Your attorney may be able to obtain an ex parte custody order from a judge granting you temporary custody of the child based upon your ex's flight with your son or daughter.
If there is a custody order in place that was violated, the police should not hesitate to take action.
Once your child is again back in your custody and care, it's imperative that you take the necessary legal steps to prevent this situation from occurring again. That may mean modifying the custody order to grant your ex only supervised visits with your child.
At all times, you should act with the best interests of your child in mind. This is also the guiding principle of the California family law courts, and the judge's actions should reflect same.