Is it parental kidnapping if you take your child out of state?

On Behalf of | Aug 4, 2022 | Child Custody & Visitation

If you’ve heard the term “parental kidnapping” being used before, you may have an idea about what it means or what situations it covers. Parental kidnapping can be may things, though, including violating your custody order and taking your child somewhere you weren’t supposed to.

Even if accidental, you could end up facing charges for violating a custody order, and if the other parent is upset enough, they could claim that kidnapping occurred.

What is parental kidnapping, really?

On paper, parental kidnapping describes situations where one parent withholds custody and takes a child away from the other parent. It can happen with or without taking the child out of the city, state or country.

There are times when you could do something to violate your custody orders that might come across as kidnapping or that could lead to accusations. Some examples include:

  • Taking your child out of state without the other parent’s permission or a court order allowing the travel.
  • Canceling repeated parenting time dates with the other parent with no good reasoning.
  • Not bringing your child home on time when you already made plans to.

These kinds of situations, even if you didn’t intend to take your child away permanently, could lead to the other parent accusing you of withholding custody and kidnapping your children. If you go off-grid or don’t tell the other parent where you are and don’t turn up when you’re supposed to, then this is an accusation that could quickly be made against you.

What do you do if the other parent falsely accuses you of kidnapping?

Intentions matter. If the other parent accuses you of kidnapping your children, there will probably be police and attorneys involved. If you’re approached by the police and realize that you kept the children on an incorrect custody date or you went somewhere you weren’t supposed to, you should return home with your children and get in touch with your own attorney to clarify the mistake.

Keeping your phone on hand and making sure there are good lines of communication may help you avoid accusations of kidnapping and make your co-parenting relationship better.