A parent that is unhappy with the court’s custody order may be tempted to take matters into his or her own hands by taking the child and moving to another state in hopes of receiving a different ruling. State courts cannot reverse custody orders that have been established in other states. Unfortunately, this doesn’t stop some parents from trying.
When parents who have children file for divorce, they are required to complete and include an affidavit. This affidavit informs the court where the child resided for the past several years. This is typically the state where the parent will be filing for divorce and this is the only state that can make custody decisions.
Parental Abduction Affects Custody Decisions: If one parent abducts a child after the other has filed for divorce, the law will do its best to find and return the child to the home state that has jurisdiction, the right to make custody orders. In most states, judges can consider interference with the relationship between a child and the other parent when making custody decisions. The act of abduction usually guarantees that a court in the home state will not give custody to the parent who took the child and fled.
Parental Abduction As Child Abuse: Abruptly cutting off the relationship between a child and parent by moving the child out of the state or the country can be considered child abuse. Even with mental health counseling, the sudden loss of a parent can have a serious effect on children. This abuse will factor into custody decisions made as part of the divorce process.
International Child Abduction: International abduction occurs when a parent leaves the country with the child. In some cases, international law protects against this as well. When this happens, some countries have a pact to return a child to the child’s home country.
In some states, parental abduction of a child is considered a crime. Should the parent not return the child voluntarily, it can be a felony. Taking a child across state lines involves the federal government and can result in charges of kidnapping; however, the situation changes if you feel your child is in danger and the person leaves because they wanted to protect the child. Even federal law recognizes that sometimes this is necessary.
Contact an Experienced Attorney in Lawrenceville, Georgia.
The laws surrounding divorce, child custody, and parental abduction are complicated and the facts of each case are unique. Contact Lynn Law Firm in Gwinnett County, Georgia, at 770-212-9090 for a consultation regarding your Gwinnett, Barrow, Forsyth, Hall, and Jackson County case.