Parental Kidnapping and North Carolina

  1. Child Custody
  2. Parental Kidnapping and North Carolina
Parental Kidnapping and North Carolina

Our children are a source of great happiness and joy in our lives. They are also a unique source of worry and anxiety. When parents are separated, they often find themselves with competing ideas about what is best for their children and have disagreements rooted in those differences. Those differences can drive some parents to make ill-advised (and sometimes dangerous) decisions when it comes to their children. One bad decision that immediately comes to mind is parental kidnapping.

What Constitutes Parental Kidnapping?

Parental kidnapping occurs when a parent willfully defies the conditions of a child custody order. This may include a parent taking a child from school when it isn’t that parent’s time to have the child and fleeing with the child. It can include refusing to return a child to a custodial parent following a visit. It can involve withholding visitation and access from a parent who is entitled to access by court order. In essence, it involves keeping a child from the other parent in violation of a court order.

These are actions that family courts take very seriously and will not tolerate. An attorney can help you enforce your custody order by issuing an order to produce the child, to seek a contempt finding against the parent in the wrong, and to pursue whatever custody modifications are necessary to protect you and your children.

Notably, if parents have no custody order and one parent takes their child from the other, then there is nothing that law enforcement can do to assist with the situation. The law treats both parents as having an equal claim to their child. In this scenario, the parent must seek orders from a family court to protect their rights.

Parental Kidnapping as a Criminal Act

In addition to serious child custody consequences, certain acts of parental kidnapping may qualify as a felony. For example, North Carolina state law makes it a Class 1 felony to cross state lines with a child in violation of a custody order from another state. For example, if a North Carolina court has issued a custody order favoring a father, and the child’s mother violates that order and leaves the state with the child, the mother has committed a criminal act of kidnapping in addition to violating the court’s custody order. If the parent keeps the child out of state for longer than 72 hours, then the parent’s criminal intent is presumed.

New Direction Family Law

If you are struggling with another parent regarding the custody of a child, you need an attorney. At New Direction Family Law, our attorneys have decades of combined legal experience, which we utilize to advocate for our clients’ parental rights. We strive to provide responsive, respectful, and effective service to our clients so that they can move toward their best outcomes. If you need assistance, contact us. Our firm serves Wake, Johnston, Durham, and surrounding counties. Call New Direction Family Law at (919) 719-3470 to schedule an appointment, or contact us at our website.

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