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Custody and visitation court cases take their toll on families. Separating fathers or mothers from children, even if it is just the weekend or every few days per month during visitation, can cause some parents to take drastic measures. When a parent takes their child from the other parent, leaves town with the child against a court order, or refuses to allow the other parent their legal visitation or time with their child, they will be held in contempt of the court. The American Bar Association warns against taking matters into one’s own hands if a parent is unhappy with a court ruling regarding child custody or visitation. It will have grave consequences during the divorce case for that parent, who will also likely be tried in criminal court. A parent who commits parental kidnapping seriously compromises their chances of having a positive outcome during the divorce proceedings, as they have created a blight on their parenting abilities that no judge will ignore.
Some possible consequences of parental kidnapping include the following:
Sadly, parental kidnapping is very common. In fact, kidnapping by a stranger is extremely rare. Most children who get kidnapped are taken by someone they know, who is usually a family member and almost always a parent. One study found that 875,000 children are abducted by a family member every year and that 90 percent of those kidnapping relatives or abductors were actually the parents of that child. Fathers were more likely to abduct or kidnap their child than mothers, and only 43 percent of abductions were reported to the police.
If your child was taken by the other parent and you do not know where they went, the first step is to report the kidnapping to the police immediately. The next is to contact a lawyer, who will work law enforcement, governmental authorities, and investigators to track down your spouse or ex-spouse. When they are found, an attorney will prove invaluable in ensuring that custody and visitation rights are stripped or severely reduced for that parent during the divorce case. Similarly, if the other parent is simply refusing to let you see your child or take your child home as per a temporary or permanent court-ordered visitation or parenting plan, the actions you must take are the same: call the police and a DuPage family law attorney.
Whether you have been accused of parental kidnapping or your spouse has committed that crime, working with an attorney will provide you the best possible outcome during your divorce case. Call the skilled Hinsdale divorce attorneys at the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio at 630-920-8855 today to schedule a free consultation.