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When does taking a child become parental kidnapping?

It is common for parents to disagree strongly about where a child should be or what they should do. When parents are married, courts generally don't get involved in these disagreements unless a particular course of action poses a threat to the safety of the child. However, when parents are divorced and must abide by a custody order, the court is much more likely to get involved.

Parental kidnapping is an extreme form of parenting time interference -- one that may result in criminal charges and even jail time if the violation is sufficiently severe. If one parent has a court-ordered right to spend time with their child at a certain day and time, and the other parent prevents them from doing so, this generally constitutes direct interference, but not necessarily kidnapping.

If, however, a parent takes a child out of the state where they live or out of the country without the knowledge and permission of the other parent, then it may qualify as parental kidnapping. While courts prefer to allow parents to spend their time with their child as they see fit, moving the child far away from the other parent, especially crossing state and national borders, is cause for concern.

If you suspect that your own child is in danger of parental kidnapping, or if your child's other parent accuses you of kidnapping your child, make sure that you clearly understand what the law has to say about your specific circumstances. With the help of your attorney, you can build a strong legal strategy that helps protect your rights as a parent.

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