Violating a Child Custody Order Might Be a Criminal Offense

 Posted on March 12, 2015 in Divorce

Illinios divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorney, parental rights,Child custody battles can be stressful and upsetting, especially for parents who do not have their desired custody arrangement or visitation rights. While child custody can be an emotionally fraught issue, it is also a legally delicate one. If you are a non-custodial parent and missing your child, do not take matters into your own hands. Spending time with your child illegally will only hurt your custody and visitation rights.

Parents can be charged with abducting their own children under Illinois law. For example, a person commits child abduction when he or she:

  • Intentionally violates the terms of a valid custody agreement or court order by concealing or detaining the child, or by taking the child outside of the court’s jurisdiction;
  • Intentionally conceals or removes the child from a parent after filing a petition or being served in an action affecting marriage or paternity but before custody has been finalized;
  • Has visitation rights outside of Illinois and fails to return the child to the lawful custodian within Illinois at the end of the visitation period;
  • Knowingly conceals the child from the other parent (assuming that the parents are now, or were, married and there has not been a court custody order) for 15 days and fails to make reasonable attempts to notify the other parent as to the child’s whereabouts (there is an exception for parents fleeing domestic violence situations);
  • Knowingly conceals, detains or removes the child from the other parent using physical force or threat of physical force when the parents are or were married and there is not a court custody order;
  • Knowingly conceals, detains or removes the child for payment or promise of payment when asked by a person who has no legal custody right;
  • Knowingly removes a child from another state and keeps him or her in Illinois for 30 days without lawful consent or a court order;
  • Intentionally lures or attempts to lure a child who is under 17 years old or traveling to or from school into a motor vehicle; or
  • Knowingly destroys, alters or conceals evidence regarding a child’s abduction or knowingly provides false information.

It is easy to imagine a number of scenarios where a parent might convince his child to come home with him, contrary to a lawful custody arrangement. Remember that Illinois law considers this to be child abduction, even when the abduction involves your own child. A child abduction conviction is a Class 4 felony, punishable by one to three years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

If you are unhappy with the terms of your custody arrangement or visitation rights then contact one of our experienced Kane County family law attorneys today. We will help you pursue custody changes through legal means. We can assist those in the St. Charles area.
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