Child Abduction by Parent

 Posted on May 29, 2015 in Divorce

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer,parental abductionWhen many parents imagine child abductors, they think of strangers attempting to lure children into their vehicles or away from their parents in public spaces. However, the statistics collected and reported by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children paint a much different picture. In the most recent study of missing children in the United States, only 115 were victims of what's considered to be a “stereotypical kidnapping.” More than 200,000 of the approximate total of 800,000 were taken by family members. Any noncustodial parent who takes his or her child from the custodial parent and keeps the child beyond his or her court-approved parenting time may be charged with child abduction. Child abduction is a serious offense that can result in fines, probation, and jail time for a guilty parent. This is included in Chapter 720 of the Illinois Criminal Code.

What is Parental Child Abduction?

Parental child abduction is any situation where a parent takes his or her child from the child's other parent and keeps him or her through threat or force beyond the parent's allotted custody time. Simply losing track of time or otherwise missing a custodial deadline is not enough to warrant a child abduction charge. To file a child abduction charge, one of the following must occur:

  • A parent without a court-approved custody arrangement takes a child from the child's custodial parent for any reason without the custodial parent's consent;
  • One parent refuses to allow the child's other parent to spend his or her allotted custody time with the child; or
  • A married parent takes a child through force or threat of force and keeps him or her from the other parent or if he or she keeps the child away from the other parent for 15 days or longer.

If you have experienced one of these scenarios, talk with your attorney about filing a child abduction charge against your former partner.

Defenses against a Child Abduction Charge

There are certain circumstances under which a parent may take or keep his or her child from the child's other parent. If the accused parent can prove that his or her child was in danger of becoming victim of domestic violence with the other parent, he or she may be found not guilty of child abduction.

If a noncustodial parent who has a custody arrangement keeps his or her child in excess of his or her parenting time, but not beyond 15 days, he or she has not committed an act of child abduction. The child must be kept from his or her custodial parent for 15 days or longer for the other parent to be found guilty of child abduction.

Family Attorneys in Kane County

If your spouse has taken your child from you or kept him or her for a period of 15 days or longer without your consent, you could have grounds for a child abduction charge. Contact our offices today to speak with one of our firm's knowledgeable Kane County family attorneys about your case and learn more about your legal options.

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