Parental kidnapping

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Updated: 4/13/2007 3:35 pm
Parental kidnapping, in which a child who has been ordered into the custody of one parent is removed by the other parent to another area or state jurisdiction, is prohibited by federal law, and is also a crime in most states. According to the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act, the court in one state will enforce a child custody decision according to a prior existing custody decision in another state. In the case of interstate custody disputes, there is a general six-month residency rule by which the custody of a child can be decided in a particular state if he or she has resided in that state for a period of six months. This six-month rule doesn't apply if it can be shown that the child was illegally taken to another state by one of the parents. Generally, the judges in each state involved in an interstate custody dispute will consult one another to decide which court will relinquish jurisdiction in the specific case. If your child has been kidnapped by a former spouse and taken to another state, contact the police and an attorney. The federal authorities will initiate a search for the child and take action where applicable against the offending parent. International parental kidnapping cases can be extremely difficult to resolve, although there are some international conventions that may be applied. If you believe your child has been taken to another state or country against your will, you should immediately contact an attorney.

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