Raleigh Child Custody Lawyer Explains – What to Do If Your Ex Takes Your Children Out of State
Unfortunately, not all divorces end well. Sometimes, hostilities between the spouses are inevitable, even if one party wants more than anything to have an amicable, peaceful relationship. An uncooperative ex can be a challenge, especially if you have children together.
North Carolina law favors children having as much contact as possible with both parents. For example, your child may spend several weeks in the summer with the other parent, or may accompany your ex on lengthy vacations out of state to see extended family members.
However, what happens when a parent removes a child from the state without notice or permission? Fortunately, these cases are comparatively rare, but they can be a source of great stress and anxiety for the other parent.
If your ex has removed your child from the state without permission, call a North Carolina child custody lawyer right away. You must act quickly to protect your child and your rights, and the sooner you get legal help, the sooner you can take steps to get your child returned safely.
Parental Kidnapping Is a Crime
Although most people associate kidnapping with a stranger abducting a child, kidnapping also encompasses a parent wrongfully removing a child from the custody of a parent or other person with the legal right to have the care and placement of the child. In North Carolina, parental kidnapping is a felony offense.
In most parental kidnapping cases, the parent who wrongfully removes a child does so because he or she is unhappy with the parties’ custody arrangement, or as a way to retaliate against the other parent. No matter what motivates a parent to remove a child, however, it is always wrong. The only acceptable way to modify a custody agreement is through the court system. Even if both parents agree to a change in custody, they should always create a formal written agreement and submit it to the court. Taking child custody matters into your own hands can seriously compromise your custody rights.
What to Do If Your Ex Kidnapped Your Child
If your ex has removed your child from your custody, or from the state, without your knowledge, consent, or permission, contact the police right away. The sooner you get the authorities involved, the better, as they can immediately alert other police departments and create alerts to help authorities locate and apprehend your ex. You should also contact your North Carolina family law lawyer, as there are emergency legal procedures available to help protect your child. For example, the court can issue you temporary emergency custody. Once you have this court order, the police can help you enforce it.
If your ex attempts to gain custody rights in another state, you can use the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act to force your ex back to court in North Carolina. Under the PKPA, which is a federal statute, the states give full faith and credit to custody orders issued by courts in the jurisdiction where the child makes his or her permanent residence. There are also laws in place to prevent a parent from unlawfully removing a child from the United States.
Call a North Carolina Child Custody Lawyer Today
The Raleigh child custody lawyers at Vitale Family Law help families navigate all types of child custody and family law matters. If your ex is making life difficult, we can help. Call us today to speak to a North Carolina family law attorney about your case