What You Need to Know about Parental Kidnapping

The average co-parenting relationship might have its bumps and occasional issues, but many parents are able to make decisions together in their child’s best interest. Though each might see things through a different filter, their intentions are good. Unfortunately, when things are extremely contentious between parents and one feels threatened or frightened about his or her relationship with a child, drastic circumstances can arise. Likewise, parents unable to get beyond feelings of resentment might make poor choices that put their child at risk.

If your child’s parent takes drastic measures or threatens to do so, you need to be aware of your rights. Protecting your child must be your first priority, but it can be difficult when you must be separated from your child during visits with his or her other parent. The challenge is even more difficult when your child’s other parent is not trustworthy.

One of the most common concerns parents have when it comes to co-parenting with someone they do not trust is kidnapping. Kidnapping and custody issues can be complicated because general laws regarding kidnapping do not apply to parents. Something that would be illegal for a stranger or even a friend or other relative to do with a child might be perfectly legal when a parent does it. However, there are instances in which a parent steps over the line and kidnapping becomes an issue.

Federal law prohibits parents from kidnapping their own children by forcing states to enforce child custody judgments made in any state, but Colorado has made further efforts to reduce the risk for parental kidnapping. In 2007, the state enacted the “Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act,” a measure allowing local authorities to take the necessary steps to deter child abduction, should signs of a potential parental kidnapping arise. For instance:

• Has a parent recently threatened to abduct the child?
• Has a parent recently quit his or her job?
• Has a parent shown signs he or she is to move (home sale, expired apartment lease)
• Has a parent recently obtained a passport for themselves and/or the child?

What can you do if you think your child is about to be abducted by his or her other parent?

The first thing you should do is call the police. They will take immediate steps to prevent a pending abduction. Next, contact a Denver family law attorney familiar with parental kidnapping laws. They will be able to file a motion in court. The motion seeks abduction prevention measures and any other orders necessary to effectuate the best interests of the child(ren) pursuant to §14-13.5-101, et seq., C.R.S., including:

• Limitations to visitation rights
• Limitations to the other parent’s ability to acquire important medical records, school records, or birth certificates
• Requirement that the other parent undergo counseling and be given thorough information on child abduction
• Notification given to the child’s school and other organizations of the threat of an abduction

Sometimes the court may revoke custody of the child completely from the offending parent.

Issues involving custody arrangements and breaches of those arrangements can be extremely complicated. In an ideal world, parents would have the ability to make smart choices about co-parenting and protecting their children. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

If you are concerned your child’s parent is considering custodial interference or kidnapping, you need to speak to an experienced attorney. Contact Montgomery Little & Soran, PC at (303) 773 8100 to schedule a consultation.