Many couples caught up in divorce also face the issue of child custody. Before a formal court ruling settles the dispute by delegating custody to one parent or the other or by setting guidelines for joint custody, parents may try to take things into their own hands. Before matters get out of hand in your case make sure you are aware of the consequences of your actions.
Most states encompass what is known as “parental kidnapping” laws in the general legislation. There may be some slight differences in how the laws are stated, but there are explicit factors that determine a case of parental kidnapping.
Without a court decision, either parent may assume custody and can feel free to take his or her child at will. The one stipulation is that the parent must be the biological mother or father. Step parents or common law marriage partners do not automatically qualify under the law, but they can appeal to the court to gain legal right.
A parent can be criminally charged with parental kidnapping if his or her intention is to keep the child away from the other parent in secrecy. Some laws may attach a timeframe for how long the child can be kept in isolation, but there are no stipulations about the use of force or weaponry.
There are some situations in which a parent will be seen to have had a legitimate reason for removing a child from the circumstances of his environment – if that parent has a valid concern for the safety of the child, for instance.
“Custodial interference” differs from parental kidnapping in that it pertains to one parent going against the conditions of custody that have been established by the court, but actions that fall under the category of custodial interference may also be construed as criminal.
If you find yourself in the middle of a difficult custodial situation contact a family law attorney who is familiar with the laws of your state that may pertain to your rights. The firm of Parker Lawyers is experienced in Colorado child custody debates. Call for advice @ 303-841-9525.