San Diego Parental Kidnapping Lawyers
Parents are expected to return their children at the required times once a visitation or custody plan has been established. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. Parental kidnappings occur when one parent ignores the court's orders and has no intention of returning the child. This is a serious - and illegal - offense. California courts will take criminal action against a parent who kidnaps their child; however, not all instances of parental kidnapping involve leaving the state or country. In some cases, one parent may outright refuse to abide by a custody plan and bar you from seeing your child, thus breaking a court order.
That is why it is important to have an experienced attorney at your side to ensure your rights to see your child are upheld and that your child remains safe from abduction. Our San Diego family law firm has dealt with many cases involving child abduction in our over four decades of experience. If your child has been abducted by a parent, you have legal options. Contact Mattis Law, A.P.C. today at (858) 328-4400.
Parental kidnapping is when a parent refuses to return a child in violation of a child custody order. This can take many forms, from ignoring the rules of a child custody plan to abducting a child from their school or home, and is often the result of a disagreement regarding the distribution of custody. One parent may feel that they deserve sole custody or that joint custody is improperly allocated between parents. What ever the reason for the disagreement, child abduction is illegal and can lead to swift action from the court.
The court may become involved if one parent:
- Checks a child out of school or daycare when they do not have physical custody rights
- Refuses to return a child after the allotted visitation time or in accordance with a custody plan
- Moves a child out of state or out of the country, such as to Mexico
- Taking a child on an impromptu vacation without the other parent’s agreement
If this occurs, the San Diego family court can be asked to grant an immediate order commanding that the child be returned, as well as emergency custody. These orders can typically be granted within hours or a day. The parent receiving the order can then enlist law enforcement in retrieving the child, and the child's belongings, from the offending parent. If the circumstances are egregious enough, the other parent's behavior may be enough to reduce child visitation or change custody.
California family law courts take parental kidnapping cases very seriously and may act quickly to ensure a child is safely returned to a parent. In addition, when investigating the case, they may grant you sole custody if it is determined that the kidnapping parent put your child in danger or emotionally traumatized them. Parental kidnapping can involve emotional manipulation, as the parent may try to convince the child that the trip is a fun vacation or claim that they are protecting them from the other parent, leading to parental alienation. In some cases, the courts may also uncover child abuse and take further legal action to protect your child. All factors will be considered by the court, and you will want to have a skilled attorney at your side to ensure you and your child’s best interests are upheld.
Having one's child kidnapped is truly horrifying. You are likely feeling scared for the well-being of your child and need a lawyer who understands the legal process to guarantee that your child is safely returned. We have handled numerous child abduction cases and understand how the court will approach such matters. Your child's safety is our first concern.
If you reach out to Mattis Law, A.P.C., our San Diego child custody lawyers will take action. We will immediately file your request to have the child returned and will do everything possible to have the judge sign the "Order for Return" as soon as possible. We will also work with you to explore all possible remedies. This may include holding the other parent in contempt of court, modifying your child custody order, or in extreme cases, suspending the other parent's visitation completely. If your child has been abducted, then his or her safety may be at issue. Call (858) 328-4400 today or contact us online to schedule your initial consultation.