Yes, a Parent Can Be Guilty of Kidnapping Their Own Child
Posted on: December 13, 2019
It may seem unthinkable that California law could accuse a parent of kidnaping their own child, but it is true. If you are thinking of taking your child without a custody agreement that allows it, please read this first and then contact Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 so we can work to find a legal route to what you want.
The Most Common Causes of Parental Kidnapping
These cases typically come up with there is a particularly difficult divorce and/or custody battle happening. In some cases, when a written custody agreement is not in place, one parent can wrongly accuse the other parent of kidnapping. This just one of the reasons to have a legally binding custody agreement on record.
The Law is Clear
California makes a distinction between child abduction, interfering with a custody agreement, and parental kidnapping. Child abduction involves someone taking a child maliciously and hiding them from their parents or legal guardian. This can be done by a parent, but it can also be done by a stranger, family member, or anyone else. Interfering with custody right is self-explanatory.
Parental kidnapping is a serious crime and is defined as moving a child a long distance by forcing or threatening. A person convicted of parental kidnapping is risking a lot more than just losing their child – they can spend as long as eight years in prison and pay fines of as much as $10,000.
Generally Speaking if There is No Custody Order in Place Then it is Not Kidnapping
If a parent does not have a custody order in place, and they take their child from the other parent without permission, there would likely be no legal ramifications. However, the parent who has lost the children would have the optional of asking the judge for an ex parte temporary custody order, which is granted if the child is in immediate danger or harm. If it is granted, then you could be guilty of abduction and/or kidnapping.
The Judge Will Consider Several Factors When Deciding How to Handle a Parental Kidnapping Case
Not all parental kidnapping cases are treated the same. For example, if the child is under the age of fourteen, then it will be handled differently than it is when older children are involved. The judge will look at how old the kid is, how far the child was taken from their home, how the child was treated when they were taken, if anyone was physically threatened or harmed, and if there were attempts to conceal the identity of the child.
If you are on either side of this situation, whether you are considering taking your child because you feel you are out of options, or you have had your child taken and need to file an emergency ex parte temporary custody order, your next step is to contact Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 for a free legal consultation with an experienced family law attorney.