When parents divorce, it is typically in everyone’s best interest that they act cooperatively and adhere to the obligations outlined in the parenting agreement or court orders. But sometimes emotions can impair judgement and a parent may feel compelled to act in defiance of the established child custody agreement.
A parent may have reasons for abducting his or her child. It could be in response to having been denied access to the child. Or a parent may believe the child is in imminent danger and should be removed from the other parent’s custody. But the laws are very clear that regardless of the situation, non-custodial parents cannot retain possession of their children without proper consent.
There are several legal options that may be applied in parental kidnapping cases, including The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, The International Parental Kidnapping Crime Act and the Fugitive Felon Act. The application of these various acts may be contingent upon the specifics of the abduction. However, it is the Fugitive Felon Act that empowers the Federal Bureau of Investigation to act on parental kidnapping cases.
If a non-custodial parent decides to take his or her child across state lines or out of the country without permission, he or she has committed a federal crime and could be subject to very serious penalties. And if you abduct your child and flee to another state, you could be pursued by both state and federal officers and face both state and federal charges upon arrest.
In the event that you are ever charged with child abduction, it is important that you formulate a strong legal response. An attorney who has experience handling federal cases could work to protect your rights and perhaps help you maintain some of your visitation privileges.