Chester County Parental Kidnapping Lawyer
Protecting Your Family After a Chester County Divorce or Custody Dispute
During high-conflict custody disputes or divorces, tempers can easily flair. Spouses and parents may argue over property rights, the division of debt, and custody agreement. In extreme cases, a parent may threaten to take a child away or even try to flee the country with them. These threats must be taken seriously, and parents should act fast to contact the proper authorities to ensure their child is not a victim of parental kidnapping.
At the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C., our Chester County parental kidnapping lawyer providers strong legal representation in high-conflict divorces and custody battles. We know how distressing a threat of parental kidnapping can be and will use all of our legal expertise to fight of you and your child. We understand the local courts and can assist you in receiving an emergency custody order. Call us at (610) 645-0100 to talk about your case in a free consultation.
What Is Parental Kidnapping?
Parental kidnapping, or interfering with a custody agreement, occurs when an individual attempts to take an underage child from a parent or legal guardian when they do not have the right to do so. This charge is often filed when a parent who does not have custody rights and attempts to take their child away from the custodial parent. It can apply even if a parent has custody right, such as parents who have joint custody or visitation. For example, if two parents have joint physical custody but one refuses to return a child for their allotted parenting time, it would be considered a violation of Pennsylvania state law.
Parental kidnapping can also occur when a parent:
- Takes a child out of school without the other parent’s permission
- Takes a child on a sudden vacation
- Refuses to return a child after an emergency custody order is approved
- Refuses to return a child when child support is not paid
- Does not respect a custody agreement following a divorce and ignores court orders
- Attempts to leave the county, state, or country with a child
Consequences of Interfering With Child Custody
Parental kidnapping can result in both criminal and civil consequences for a parent. Pennsylvania state law makes parental kidnapping a third-degree felony in most cases, but it can be reduced to a second-degree misdemeanor if the defendant has partial custody, has good cause to take the child for less than 24 hours, and does not leave Pennsylvania, such as a medical emergency or to protect the child from harm.
With family law courts, parental kidnapping is justification for the other parent to request emergency child custody or to have their custody agreement modified. The defendant parent can lose custody or be limited to supervised visitation if accused of parental kidnapping.
Responding to Parental Kidnapping
If your child’s other parent threatens to take your child away or attempts to break a custody agreement, you should not hesitate to contact the police at 911 to report the crime. Police may act fast to ensure your child’s safety and bring them home to you. If the other parent attempts to flee the state or country, then the courts have authority to put a hold on your child’s and the other parent’s passport.
During these difficult scenarios, it is important to have a skilled family law attorney at your side. Parental kidnapping cases can drastically impact your child custody agreement and divorce proceedings. By getting legal representation early on, you can ensure that you understand your rights under the law and can safeguard your relationship with your child.
The Role of Your Chester County Family Law Attorney
If you need legal representation in a parental kidnapping case, look no further then the Chester County family law attorney at the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C. With more than twenty years of experience, our founding attorney has guided multiple clients and their families through high-conflict divorces and custody disputes. We outline your options in a free initial consultation and explain how to protect your child. Call us at (610) 645-0100 to discuss your case today.