Parental Kidnapping: Going Beyond a Mere Custody Dispute

Every so often, we hear about incidents in which parents violate their appointed custody or visitation rights by taking kids with them to another state. Technically, this is a form of kidnapping referred to as parental kidnapping, and it can result in serious criminal penalties for the offender.

Courts treat parental kidnapping as a far more serious offense than a minor custody dispute. Rather than a civil matter, it is classified as a criminal act, in violation of the law in every state in the nation, along with the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The problem is unfortunately more common than one might expect. Every year, thousands of children are even taken across international borders as the kidnapping parent attempts to evade capture. But even in more minor instances, where a parent simply refuses to return a child to the custodial parent, the ordeal can be quite traumatic to the children and the kidnapping parent can face serious legal consequences.

Potential for trauma

Children who are abducted by their parents undergo a great deal of distress as a result of being taken from their custodial parent against their will. The kidnapping parent often attempts to brainwash the child into believing he or she loves the child more than the other parent. In other situations, the kidnapper may attempt to convince the children that the other parent has died or abandoned them, and that they must leave their old home for good.

In some situations, children are forced to take on a new appearance or identity as the kidnapping parent tries to avoid being caught.

If you believe your child is at risk due to the actions of your former partner, it is important to take immediate action and attempt to revise your visitation agreement. For more information on how to do this, contact a trusted child custody attorney at Bryan L. Salamone & Associates.

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