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Parental Kidnapping

Parental Kidnapping

Every so often, we hear about incidents in which parents violate their appointed custody or visitation rights by taking kids with them to another state. Technically, this is a form of kidnapping referred to as parental kidnapping, and it can result in serious criminal penalties for the offender.

Courts treat parental kidnapping as a far more serious offense than a minor custody dispute. Rather than a civil matter, it is classified as a criminal act, in violation of the law in every state in the nation, along with the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The problem is unfortunately more common than one might expect. Every year, thousands of children are even taken across international borders as the kidnapping parent attempts to evade capture. But even in more minor instances, where a parent simply refuses to return a child to the custodial parent, the ordeal can be quite traumatic to the children and the kidnapping parent can face serious legal consequences.

Children who are abducted by their parents undergo a great deal of distress as a result of being taken from their custodial parent against their will. The kidnapping parent often attempts to brainwash the child into believing he or she loves the child more than the other parent. In other situations, the kidnapper may attempt to convince the children that the other parent has died or abandoned them, and that they must leave their old home for good.

In some situations, children are forced to take on a new appearance or identity as the kidnapping parent tries to avoid being caught.

Parents Can Misinterpret Why Children Complain About Visitation

A common concern that comes up during child custody disputes is that one parent claims a child tends to “beg” not to go with the other parent during the appointed visitation times. Typically, the parent interprets this behavior to mean the child dislikes the other parent or that the other parent is incompetent or abusive.

However, there are a many possible reasons why children might be fussy about going from one parent to the other — and the reasons are often more complicated than one might believe. Common issues include the following:
The child wants to spend time with the other parent, but also does not want to leave you behind. It is common for children to strongly want two things at once and become emotional when they cannot have them both simultaneously.

The child might pick up on cues from you that you become sad when he or she leaves. Thus, the child becomes upset due to feeling he or she is disappointing you. Your children think it pleases you to see they are sad about leaving, so they decide to tell you what they think you want to hear. The child finds it uncomfortable or inconvenient to jump from one home to another, but will likely be fine with the transition soon after it occurs. The child is indeed resisting spending time with the other parent, perhaps for the reasons you suspect. However, this is quite rare.

Family Law Attorney Free Consultation

If you have a question about child custody question or if you need help with custody, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506