Parental kidnapping happens when one parent takes their child without the consent of the other parent. There are two main ways this happens:

  • One parent violates a custody agreement and takes off with the child
  • There is no custody agreement in place, and one parent leaves with the child without consent from the other parent

Your legal options for stopping a parental kidnapping will depend on whether there is a court-ordered custody agreement in place.

Violation of a Custody Order

If one parent violates a custody order, they can be charged with contempt and punished by the court. This can occur whenever a parent doesn’t allow the parent to have the custody or visitation granted in the custody order.

If your child’s other parent leaves the state with the kids, contact your child custody order immediately. You should enforce your rights under the custody agreement as soon as possible.

Parental Kidnapping Without a Custody Order

If no custody order is in place, such as during a separation, the situation becomes more complicated. Technically, a parent is violating any court order by leaving the state with the kids. But they could be attempting to avoid the jurisdiction of North Carolina courts.

Your remedy is to seek an emergency custody order. These orders may be granted when there is a substantial risk that the child will be removed from North Carolina for the purpose of evading the jurisdiction of the courts. 

These emergency custody orders do not require the typical notice and service requirements. These orders can also be issued when the child is at substantial risk of bodily harm or sexual abuse.

Avoid Parental Kidnapping Accusations

Be very careful about leaving the state with your kids without the consent of their other parent. This doesn’t look good to a judge and may open you up to parental kidnapping accusations.

For example, if your spouse is abusive and you leave the state with the kids to get away from them, you may think you are doing the right thing. However, your spouse may obtain to get emergency custody because you took the kids out of state without their consent. You may want to seek a domestic violence protective order in this type of case.

Consult a family law attorney if your kids were taken out of state without your consent or if you are considering leaving the state with your children.

King Law Offices is a full-service law firm with an outstanding team of professionals who work diligently, creatively, and compassionately on behalf of our clients each day.  We serve the Upstate of South Carolina and Western North Carolina.  Call 888-748-KING (5464) today for a consultation with one of our dedicated family law attorneys.

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