Child custody orders exist to provide certainty and stability to a child. It allows parents and children to know where the children are going to live and when they will see each other. Courts make these custody decisions based on children’s best interests, after considering all of the evidence presented to the court. It is unfortunate when parents choose to not only disregard orders but to actively conceal or abduct children from the other parent.
We frequently see parents who do not like their custody orders; however, we universally advise these clients to follow their orders unless we can successfully reach an agreement or get before a court to seek a modification. The consequences of violating existing orders are serious.
Child Custody Kidnapping
When a noncustodial parent (or a parent without any rights to custody) takes a child in violation of a custody order or fails to return a child to the custodial parent per their order, the other parent can seek a court order to produce the child. Failure to abide by the court’s orders can result in contempt, resulting in fines and possible jail time.
There are also criminal consequences that can be pursued against the parent who takes the child. Child custody kidnapping is listed as a Class D Felony offense, which can mean jail time and a criminal record for the offending parent.
Unauthorized Relocation of Child
When a custodial parent wants to relocate with a child out of the state or a significant distance away, that parent must obtain the written consent of the noncustodial parent or obtain permission from the court to make the move. If a custodial parent fails to follow the law and moves anyway, they can also face child custody kidnapping charges. Also, courts will view the parent as one who has interfered with the visitation rights of the non-custodial parent—and who has acted against the child’s best interest. Also, the violating parent can be ordered to pay the attorney fees and costs of the wronged parent.
Restriction of Child Custody
Courts take child custody kidnapping and concealing a child very seriously. Beyond the criminal charge and civil contempt for violating a court’s order, a court may also determine that a parent is unsafe and unsuitable as a result of their conduct. This can lead to a change in child custody, a complete restriction of visitation, or severe limits and conditions on access to the child.
Contact Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P.
Courts take child custody kidnapping and unauthorized relocations very seriously. So do we. If you are involved in a child custody dispute, contact us. At Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P., we understand what your parental rights mean to you and will utilize our experience and knowledge to help protect those rights. Our attorneys are respected, proven professionals who provide top class representation. Call Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P. today at (775) 210-8178 to schedule a consultation or contact our office through our website.