Kidnapping is considered an unlawful act in which a person knowingly holds another individual captive or against their will. At times, kidnappers are strangers, but in some cases a kidnapper can be a family member or even a parent. Often when parents are engaged in unpleasant custody battles, emotions tend to escalate. Rarely, but not completely unheard of, will a parent purposefully move a child from one location to another in an effort to conceal them from the other parent. While this act may seem harmless as most believe it is in the best interest of their child, this act of kidnapping is a serious allegation and can result in criminal charges. How will a court determine if an act is indeed associated with parent kidnapping? Here are three questions that you may encounter as a result of unlawfully moving your child:
- Are you a legal guardian or parent of the child?
One of the most important matters in parental kidnapping situations is determining your relation to the child. In order for a court to determine the best interest of your child, the totality of circumstances must be weighed, including your relation to the child.
- Do you have current court orders prohibiting the movement of your child?
In most cases with child custody orders, courts may elect to enforce parental rights. If there is no custody order in place, the act of moving your child may not constitute parental kidnapping, but your acts may still be seen as an interference with the time that the other parent deserves with your child.
- With what intent did you move your child?
In some cases, there may be exceptions to parental kidnapping. If you are escaping domestic violence, you may be able to argue that moving your child was a result of fleeing a violent situation and the act was committed with the intent of protecting him or her.
Understandably, child custody battles and child custody litigation are difficult situations and may invoke a fervor of emotions that only the engaged parties understand. If you have been accused of unlawfully moving your child with hidden motives, you may risk the chance of retaining or getting child custody in the future. Furthermore, if you are in the midst of a custody battle you should seek the assistance of a qualified child custody lawyer, like a child custody lawyer in Dallas, TX, before commiting the act of concealing your child.
It is important to note that every child custody case is different. If you or someone you know has been affected by allegations of kidnapping or is embroiled in a custody battle, contact an attorney to schedule a consultation for legal advice that will answer all of your legal questions.
Thanks to Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC for their insight into the repercussions of kidnapping your own child.