State and federal laws define parental abduction as a non-custodial parent’s refusal to return a child after a lawful visit. Parental kidnapping is illegal in every state, and the abductor is usually prosecuted in state court. However, if a child abduction case involves transporting the child across state lines or outside of the United States, a federal charge for kidnapping may be pursued.
The consequences of a federal charge of abduction can lead to imprisonment, as well as a criminal record. Knowledge of state and federal laws may help you to safeguard your rights and freedom.
California Penal Code 278
Under California Penal Code 278, child abduction includes:
- Taking or concealing the child
- Kidnapping a child for any length of time
- Acting with the intent to prevent the other parent’s custodial rights
The International Parental Kidnapping Crime Act 1993
The International Parental Kidnapping Crime Act 1993 is a federal law that prohibits a parent’s removal of a child from the United States for the purpose of obstructing the other parent’s custodial rights.
International parental kidnapping can result in long-term psychological consequences for a child who has endured:
- Abrupt removal from community and family
- Inadequate schooling
- Moving to different locations to remain inaccessible
- Alteration of name and appearance to hide identity
Child custody disputes are often traumatic experiences and can trigger irrational decisions, including the abduction of a child by a parent. Learn how California and federal laws can help you to preserve your custody rights and your child’s well-being.