Houston Parental Kidnapping Attorneys
According to the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act, a parent is considered guilty of parental kidnapping when they remove a child from a jurisdiction in violation of the child custody or visitation agreement they have with other legal custodians.
Parental kidnapping could include:
- Violating a custody or visitation agreement
- Keeping the child from the other parent
- Refusing to bring the child back to the other parent after visitation period ends
- Leaving with the child without permission from the other parent
Having your child taken from you under these circumstances can be especially frightening and stressful. Fortunately, with the help of an attorney from Holmes, Diggs & Sadler, anyone in Houston who has had their child custody or visitation rights violated by an ex-spouse or partner can enforce their legal rights, take action to hold the other party accountable for their actions and work on getting their child back.
Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act (PKPA)
The Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act (PKPA) is a federal law that protects children from being kidnapped, especially to different states. THe PKPA establishes the child’s home state in the courts. The courts in the child’s home state will then oversee the custody of that child.
This means that a parent cannot go to another state and ask for another child custody order to favor them. The PKPA prevents another ruling in another state that contradicts the original ruling in the child’s home state.
If you know someone that has taken your child to a different state with the intention to change custody orders in their favor, you are protected under the PKPA. Let the attorneys at Holmes, Diggs & Sadler handle the case and help you understand what is happening.
Why Parental Kidnapping Happens and How to Avoid It
According to the National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway and Thrownaway Children (NISMART), it is estimated that three in 1,000 children are kidnapped by family members each year. The study says parents were involved in more than 90 percent of kidnappings. Mothers or female family members were responsible for 60 percent of kidnappings.
While in most cases it is never ok to kidnap a child, parents kidnap their own children for the following reasons:
- To continue the interaction with the parent that is left behind
- Out of anger, they take the child to punish the other parent
- Fear of losing custody or visitation rights
- To protect the child from an abusive parent, or neglect of the child
No parent thinks their child is going to be kidnapped. It just isn’t something any parent wants to think about. There are a few warning signs to be aware of. Any and all threats made to the child should not be overlooked. Most of the signs are small, but still something to watch out for. The Polly Klaas Foundation give a few items to be aware of:
- One parent either has proof or thinks there might be abuse happening, and other family and friends notice too
- A parent doesn’t have any ties to the child’s home state
- The relationship between parents is bad, with ongoing arguments when seeing each other
- Threats of abduction or actual past abductions by a parent
- A parent is jobless, can work from anywhere, or doesn’t have anything keeping them in the area
Keeping a close eye on these warning signs and any other behavior that may seem not normal will help in preventing parental kidnapping. The Polly Klaas Foundation study also provides the following steps to prevent parental kidnapping:
- The other parent may have visitation rights. Respecting these rights will reduce anger and frustration, which if present, could lead to retaliation by kidnapping the child.
- Look into counseling. Counseling can help cut down on chances the other parent takes the child.
- Make sure to keep a friendly relationship with the other parent and their family. The likelihood of the family helping in the kidnapping will be reduced if you have kept a good relationship.
- Start the custody process right away, without delay. The custody order needs to be established in order for you to prove your rights. Keep a copy of the custody order.
- If there have been any threats by the other parent, document them. Then report them to your attorney and the police.
- Notify any and all places and people the child visits about the custody order. This includes schools, daycares, the child’s doctors, and babysitters. A copy of the custody order should be given to each of these places and people. Ask them to reach out immediately if the non-custodial parent tries to pick up the child.
There are a few other steps you can take to prevent parental kidnapping. These are just a start. Adhering to these will keep your child safe, as well as yourself. Notify the authorities and your attorney if you think the custody order has been violated in any way.
Consequences of Parental Kidnapping
Parental kidnapping happens most often when a divorce or deterioration of a parental relationship. The child is in the middle of an ugly battle that consists of who gets the child when, and for how long. This takes a lot of mental and physical energy to get through. Often you might be frightened, and the child may be scared and not know what is happening. Most often these emotions lead to hiring an attorney to help solve the issue. When emotions get involved it can lead to extreme measures, like kidnapping the child.
When a child is kidnapped by a parent against court orders, state and federal authorities, such as the FBI, will get involved. Once the child is found safe, it is best to go to your attorney to adjust the court order. This will prevent the kidnapping from happening again. If you had joint custody, then the other parent violated the court custody order, taking away your rights. Kidnapping is nothing to take lightly. When the violating parent kidnaps the child, it will seriously damage their reputation in the court of law. It could lead to temporary or permanent custody rights being stripped from them. It varies in all locations the severity of the consequence. The most common consequences for violating custody orders include fines, jail time, loss of custody, or complete loss of visitation rights.
To understand your rights and what action can be taken specifically in Houston, don’t hesitate to call the attorneys of Holmes, Diggs & Sadler. They will look at every detail of your case and take action against those that violated the law.
Contact a Parental Kidnapping Attorney in Houston
The Houston family attorneys at Holmes, Diggs & Sadler have extensive experience helping people just like you peacefully and successfully resolve family matters like parental kidnapping. We know that situations like these are emotionally-charged and challenging to deal with, but our team will be ready to take swift and decisive action to help you resolve the matter and get your child back. Don’t wait another minute to get the help you need. Our qualified team is standing by to discuss your situation with you when you call (713) 802-1777 or reach out to us online.