Parental Child Abduction – What Legal Rights Exist if a Parent Abducts a Child?

April 30, 2015


When issues arise between parents, there may be times when tempers flare and things are said or done that probably should not be said or done.

Parental Child abduction

Unfortunately, during such disputes, one party might decide to retaliate against the other party by using the child as pawn. In fact, it is not uncommon during or after divorce actions (or even separations) for one parent to unlawfully remove or hide a child from the other parent.

Child Abduction: What are Your Rights?

In general, there are two kinds of abduction: abduction by a stranger and parental child abduction. Contrary to what most people think, parental abductions are more common than abduction by stranger. One parent, in an effort to defy or circumvent a court order, might choose to take the child or children out of the city, state or country.

But what rights exist for the parent seeking the return of their child or children? While it may seem as though law enforcement officers are hesitant to get involved in family disputes, particularly when allegations of kidnapping are made, using the services of law enforcement might be one of the best (and sometimes only) remedies available. That said, it is always a good idea to seek assistance from the police, as many parental abduction cases will involve a number of state and federal laws and state and federal agencies.

Modifying and Enforcing Child Custody Orders

Many Conshohocken custody lawyers know that once a child has been found and returned home, the parent from whom the child was abducted will want to do everything in his or her power to keep such an incident from occurring again.

Abducted Child Parental Kidnapping

Accordingly, if a joint custody arrangement existed prior to the abduction, the non-violating parent will likely want the family court to modify the existing order, especially since the offending parent, in essence, denied the other parent’s custody rights by abducting the child. In fact, the judge may decide to temporarily or permanently eliminate the violating parent’s custody rights.

Further, under state law, the violating parent may be subject to expensive fines, loss of custody and/or visitation rights and even face time in jail for his or her acts. If the abducting parent takes the child out of the country, the issue could become much more difficult to deal with, especially if the parent flees to a country that has agreed to an international treaty.

In such instances, it may become necessary to use a mix of political and legal pressure to get the child back. However, if the child is taken a country that has not agreed to a treaty, the possible legal remedies will consist of a wide range of options that are best discussed with custody lawyers who are knowledgeable in international custody disputes.

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