Can You Kidnap Your Own Child?
Hossein Berenji, September 13, 2017
When parents are in the middle of a contentious child custody battle the situation can be tense. In some cases, a child custody battle can escalate to the point where one parent decides to physically take the child without the permission of the other parent or the court. If this happens, a parent can face criminal charges for parental kidnapping. If you have been accused of kidnapping your own child – whether you are in the midst of a child custody battle or not – it is important to understand the potential criminal consequences you may face. Your actions during a civil child custody battle can most certainly have criminal consequences.
Kidnapping is somewhat of a misnomer. There is no requirement that the victim of a kidnapping be (a) a child, or (b) your child. Regardless, allegations of kidnapping your own child are very serious. In most cases, if you have in fact moved your child from one location to another or concealed them from the other parent, a court will consider three primary factors when determining if you have broken the law. First, they will consider your legal status as the child’s parent or legal guardian. Second, they will consider whether any court orders are in place which would prohibit you from moving your child. Third, they will consider your motive and intent in moving your child. These factors are all incredibly important because different criminal charges may (or may not) apply when these questions are answered.