Kidnapping is an unlawful act or an instance of taking a person without consent, by force or fraud. Kidnappings can occur by family members, as well as strangers.
A parent who does not have legal custody of a child can be convicted of kidnapping. When a parent takes a child without the other parent’s consent, it is considered parental kidnapping.
It is also considered kidnapping when a person has confined another person without his/her consent for a substantial period of time if any of the following five requirements are met:
A parent who does not have legal custody of a child can be convicted of kidnapping. When a parent takes a child without the other parent’s consent, it is considered parental kidnapping. States do not have a specific law “Parental Kidnapping,” but most states have arranged their general kidnapping laws to provide for the same type of offense even if a parent took their child without consent of custodial parent. Whether or not the taking of a child by a parent is considered parental kidnapping, the court looks at three main factors, including:
In order to convict you of parental kidnapping, the prosecution must prove the following elements:
Parental kidnapping is a serious crime and if convicted you may be charged with kidnapping even though it was your own child. In the 38 states that have signed the UCCJEA, it is for example a felony to kidnap your own child. It also prevents parental abductors from obtaining custody orders outside the child’s home state. If convicted, your custodial rights may also be impacted, as this will be reported to the family court. The family court may also find you in contempt of a custodial court order in place, and could change or revoke custody/visitation rights if they find it is in the child’s best interest.
All states should recognize and enforce another states custody decision under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U. S. Constitution. However, many states have in the past sometimes ignored this clause because of differences in individual state laws. New federal laws have made it clear that a custody order must be followed. The federal Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) closes the loop holes for the 38 states that have signed it. States that have signed it are for example, Texas, New York, California, Illinois and Florida.
The Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act, in conjunction with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act, is designed to promote the best interests of the child in a custody decision and to prevent parental abduction into other jurisdictions.
Prior to the establishment of the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act, some parents attempted to avoid or nullify custody decisions in one state by moving to another and obtaining a different court order. The Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act invalidates this attempt by mandating that all states give Full Faith and Credit to the custody determination of the “home state.”
If you have been charged with parental kidnapping, the following defenses may be available:
To protect your children from a possible parental kidnapping or to try to get them back if they have been abducted, speaking with a local family lawyer to discuss what your best options are is highly recommended. Working with an experienced family lawyer can help you understand your rights and help you deal with the complicated legal system.
Last Modified: 12-28-2017 01:21 PM PSTLaw Library Disclaimer
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