What Constitutes Parental Kidnapping? - Attorneys.com
Parental kidnapping or parental abduction is defined as the concealment, taking, or retention of a child by his parent in violation of the rights of the child's other parent or another family member. Violated rights may include, for example, custody and visitation rights. Sadly, thousands of children are abducted by a parent and removed from the United States annually. Even more children are kidnapped by a parent within the confines of U.S. borders. Parental kidnapping also happens when a child is abducted from a custodial parent abroad and transported into the United States by the non-custodial parent illegally.
More Than Just a Custody Dispute
Make no mistake – parental kidnapping is illegal. Parental kidnapping is far more than a dispute regarding custody matters between divorcing parents. Such matters are relegated to the civil courts; however, parental kidnapping is a criminal act. In fact, parental kidnapping violates the laws of all U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands, plus U.S. federal laws and international laws. It is dangerous and can be deadly.
Parentally-abducted children live a life on the run as if fugitives. It is not uncommon to see a child receive a new name, nickname, haircut, dyed hair, glasses, or otherwise altered appearance. Children may be coached not to reveal their true names, birth dates, home states and addresses, and other identifying information. They may move often to avoid detection and recovery. School performance and social relationships suffer materially (that is, if the child is permitted to attend school). Even medical treatment may suffer because of requirements for identifying information involved in the registration for care and insurance claims processing.
Parental Kidnapping Law & Legal Definition
In the absence of a court order determining rights of custody or visitation to a child, a person having a right of custody of the child commits the crime of parental kidnapping if he removes, takes, detains, conceals, or entices away that child within or without the state, without good cause, and with the intent to deprive the custody right of another person or a public agency also having a custody right to that child. The following a a federal law governing parental kidnapping: