Criminal Defense Attorney
Unfortunately, it is possible to be guilty of kidnapping your own children. Custody battles are very tricky, and if you do not know the law it is impossible to understand the law. Family laws vary from state to state, and while there are several stipulations, not everything you think is parental kidnapping is considered kidnapping according to a lawyer with our friends at The Lynch Law Group.
“Parental kidnapping” is really no different from the kidnapping that you may already be familiar with, but the biggest distinction may come very apparent to you–a parent kidnapping their child. There are three key elements that constitutes a parental kidnapping charge:
- Legal status of the defendant
- Official court orders regarding custody that clearly indicate stipulations
- The defendant’s intentions
In order to implicate the offending parent, there must be an order within the court that specify parental restrictions. If there is no court order filed, both parents have the same rights when regarding access to their shared child. This means if one parent decides to pick their child up from school for any reason whatsoever, this is perfectly acceptable and not considered parental or general kidnapping. While this can be very frustrating to the other parent, this is no illegal. In this situation, as long as it is the actual parent this is okay.
It is unacceptable for a friend of the family that may know the child and both parents, to pick up the child without the other parents’ consent. If the other parent has remarried, and the step mother or father has acted as a third parent to the child and decides to pick the child up for their spouse, it is unacceptable as they do not have the same legal rights as the biological parent. This means the other parent can then claim “kidnapping”. If there is a court order granting legal custody of the child, there is no way that parent can be charged with “parental kidnapping”, it is when there is a court order with specific instructions and restrictions and when visitation is violated that a parent may be charged.
Every state has its own specific parental kidnapping laws, but they all generally involve reviewing any court orders and if there is an abduction and you may be held in contempt of this order if you violate.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a custody battle that has resulted in a kidnapping charge your case is now beyond just family law and you should speak with a skilled criminal defense attorney that will be able to fight for you in court. After an initial consultation, they can take on your case and represent you in all legal matters. If you have any questions they will also be more than happy to advise you along the way so that you are aware of every step. Contact an attorney near you today to get started on your case as soon as possible to handle any charges you may currently be facing.