Child custody orders and agreements are rarely perfect. While in most cases Arizona families are able to work around the parameters of the custodial plans they are bound to follow, in some situations following a child custody arrangement can be downright frustrating. While parents should always seek legal assistance to find appropriate ways to either change or modify the terms of the agreements and orders that they must follow, some parents elect to take custodial matters into their own hands.
When a parent takes their child against the terms of an operating child custody order or agreement then their act may constitute child abduction. For example, if a parent was to return their child to the child’s other parent but instead took the child overnight then their failure to act in accordance with their custody plan may arise to abduction or kidnapping.
When a parent abducts their own child, the child’s other parent may not know how to work to bring their child home. There are civil and criminal remedies that parents in this difficult situation may pursue, though the appropriateness of each should be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Through the criminal courts a parent may be arrested on kidnapping charges if they are in violation of their child custody order or agreement. Through the civil courts a parent may seek to have their child’s other parent’s rights terminated due to their act of abduction. Through all legal processes, courts will look to protect the child’s interests and welfare when they impose changes to the child’s custody plan.
Although child custody matters can become emotional, no parent has the right to kidnap their own child. Before matters become unworkable, parents are encouraged to discuss their custody and family law rights to prevent serious child custody issues like abduction from occurring.