When you go through a custody hearing, it outlines how you and your former spouse will share visitation and the co-parenting of your children. Both parents must adhere to the rules of the custody order when they have the children in their care. This includes where the children live primarily and when and where a parent can take a child and for how long. If you and your spouse have a custody order and the other parent is not abiding by the rules of the agreement, especially when it comes to taking the children outside of their custody period, it could constitute kidnapping. Here is what you need to know.
Can a Parent Be Charged with Kidnapping Their Own Child?
Each state has different laws when it comes to kidnapping your own child. The severity of the laws ranges from mild to severe when one parent takes the other child without permission. In some cases, a parent can be criminally charged with child abduction if anyone, the parent or any other person, takes a child without proper custody in place. Kidnapping is somewhat different than child abduction. Kidnapping occurs when a child is moved away some distance from a custodial parent. If one parent takes a child to a different state when it was not their custody time and they did not have permission to do so per the custody agreement, that parent can be charged with kidnapping. This can result in criminal charges and lead to time in jail along with fines.
Can You Kidnap a Child if You Have No Order for Custody?
To be charged with kidnapping, you have to have a custody order in place. If the court did not issue a custody order, both parents can move the children anywhere they wish until you go to court. If one parent takes a child somewhere without letting the other parent know, the other parent can go to court and get a temporary custody order. If you took the child and the other parent goes through with a temporary order, you must return the child. If not, you risk a kidnapping charge.
How Can You Avoid the Risk of a Kidnapping a Charge?
There are some things you can do to show you had no intention to kidnap your own child. You must prove you did not maliciously take your child away. As long as you bring the child back when asked, you can prove that you are willing to work with the other parent on a custody order that allows you to take your child on trips or vacations. That way you do not risk a kidnapping charge in the future.
For more information, contact family lawyers near you.