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What is parental kidnapping in child custody cases?

If you are in the midst of a divorce that involves fierce contention over child custody, then your soon-to-be ex-spouse might resort to underhanded means to distance your child from you. This can manifest as subtle parental alienation or blatant parental kidnapping.

Parental kidnapping is the act of infringing on a fellow parent’s custodial rights by physically keeping the child away or taking them a significant distance, such as across state lines. You and your spouse share equal custodial rights while you are still undergoing divorce proceedings, so it is important to understand how this behavior will affect your child custody case.

How does parental kidnapping affect child custody?

Both you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse should understand that parental kidnapping is a crime. During a lengthy divorce process, it is possible to receive a temporary custody order as the situation demands, but keeping the child away from the other parent in the absence of such an order comes with immediate and long-term benefits. The act of maliciously distancing a child from another parent is likely to impact the court’s decision regarding custody.

How does abuse factor into a parental kidnapping charge?

If you or your child is a victim of abuse at the hands of your spouse, then you might feel there is no other choice but to distance yourselves from your abuser. This act is still parental kidnapping in the eyes of the law unless you can sufficiently prove that the other parent is a threat to your child’s safety.

Ultimately, parental kidnapping can cause serious harm to a child and their relationship with both parents. It is a form of abuse that is not likely to go unpunished and will affect the court’s opinions on which parent is better suited to custodianship.


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