Legal Center:  Children & Divorce

CHILD ABDUCTION

by Aaron Dishon, Esq.

What Is Child Abduction?
A child abduction occurs when someone takes, entices away, keeps, withholds or conceals a child in violation of a custody or visitation order.

Can A Family Member Abduct Their Own Child?
Yes. Not only does child abduction involve violation of Family Court, Juvenile Court and/or Probate Court orders, but it also involves a FELONY violation of the law. The punishment for committing such a crime can be up to four years in prison and a $10,000 fine, even if the abductor is a family member!

Are There Any Exceptions?
A child may be taken or detained in violation of a custody or visitation order if there is a good faith and reasonable belief that the child(ren), if left with another person, will suffer immediate bodily injury or emotional harm. However, if you do take your child(ren) under this exception, you MUST call the District Attorney's Office Child Abduction Unit.

What Should You Do If Your Child Is Abducted?
If possible, call the police and file a report. They will require that you have certified copies of your most recent court orders regarding custody. Also, ask the law enforcement agency to place your child in NCIC, the national crime information computer system. Immediately notify the District Attorney's Office Child Abduction Unit of your county.

For additional assistance, you may wish to call the "National Center for Missing and Exploited Children" at 1-800-843-5678


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