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When does family abduction occur?

Photo of Karen Lavin

Family abduction occurs much more often than it is reported or prosecuted, but that doesn't mean it isn't serious. If a parent takes children and keeps them without the other parent with custody knowing where they are, this is considered family abduction. While it can be family members other than a parent, in most cases, family abduction involves one parent concealing a child from the other.

The severity with which family abduction is treated varies from state to state, with some states considering the offense a felony, while other do not. Depending on the nature of the offense and how long the situation continues before being resolved, it may even be considered child endangerment.

If you are a parent of a child, sharing some form of custody with the other parent, but not living in close proximity to the other parent, it is true that neither of you can know where the child is at all times, and this is where the issue can get fuzzy. If, for instance, the non-primary custodial parent has the child for a long weekend, you may not know where he or she is specifically, but if that parent decides to use this time to take the child on some trip far away, across state lines or out of the country, then the factors are different.

Family dynamics are never simple, and boundaries can be violated in many ways, whether intentionally or unintentionally. If you believe that you may have been the victim of family kidnapping, the guidance of an experienced family law attorney can help you understand the legal nature of your particular situation, while helping to protect your rights in Illinois and the rights of your child.

Source: stopfamilyabductionsnow.org, "What is Family Abduction?," accessed Oct. 21, 2016

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