Custody disputes can be a lightning rod of conflict when parents do not get along. There are dueling perspectives between parents who love their children and both sincerely believe that they are right. Sometimes, custody disputes go too far, and parents unilaterally decide to deprive the other of access to the children. If a parent engages in the wrongful retention or wrongful removal of a child, then this problematic decision may constitute parental abduction.
Can a Parent Kidnap His or Her Own Child?
When there is no existing court order or agreement regarding custody of a child, neither parent has an enforceable legal document that they can use to safeguard their rights to the child. While Nevada law provides parents with joint custody absent a court order to the contrary, law enforcement rarely gets involved in such disputes. So if one parent refuses to return a child after a visit and no order or agreement exists, then the other parent is powerless unless they go to court to seek temporary orders after the fact. Even amicable relationships between co-parents can go sour quickly, so it is always smart to either seek a custody agreement or orders regarding a child.
If a custody order exists granting one parent lawful custody of a child, then the other parent either removes the child or retains the child, then the wronged parent can seek enforcement of their order and the return of their child.
If a parent relocates a child outside of Nevada or conceals the child inside the state without permission of the other parent or the court, the parent who has engaged in the abduction my face a criminal charge for a Class D Felony.
Protection from the Risk of Abduction
Nevada law also protects children from the risk of abduction. Specifically, the state has adopted a nation-wide series of laws designed to give courts the authority to protect children from parental abduction. When addressing a petition for an “abduction prevention” order, the court must consider, among other things, whether the parent:
- Previously abducted the child;
- Threatened to abduct the child;
- Engaged in domestic violence, or child abuse;
- Has engaged in conduct that indicate an abduction may occur;
- Has violated child custody orders;
- Has forged or falsified government documents; or
- Is likely to leave the country with the child.
Courts take parental abduction very seriously, and will enter orders that restrict travel, order the removal of the child, placing an alert of the child’s passport, restrain the parent from moving the child, or even issue arrest warrants.
The consequences for kidnapping your child can be severe. Therefore, if you are unclear about your child custody orders or want to pursue modifying an existing order, you should speak with a family lawyer before taking the law into your own hands.
Trust Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P. to Fight for You
Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman, L.L.P. is a law firm that provides comprehensive legal services to individuals looking for high quality family law representation. If you are seeking original child custody orders or want to modify an existing order, you should speak with an attorney. Our attorneys are respected, experienced, and thoughtful. As a parent, you have legal rights when it comes to your children. We understand what is at stake when it comes to your children and want to stand by you. Call Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P. today at (775) 210-8178 to schedule a consultation or contact our office through our website.