If a Mother Takes a Child to Another State and Doesn’t Tell the Father, is it Considered Kidnapping?

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‘Can you tell me when parental kidnapping became a crime in California? A couple was living apart, not legally separated or divorced. The child lived with the mother. One day the father went to visit the child and found they were gone- the mother had taken the child out of state and “hid” in a different state so the father would not have access to the child and wouldn’t know where they were. Would this be deemed parental kidnapping by California law?’

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Parental kidnapping has been a crime for many years. Any time there is an order of the Court that provides that Parent A has time with the child, and Parent B thwarts that time by taking the child away to a place other than where Parent A is to pick them up, that is potentially parental kidnapping.

Under the scenario you have described, however, where the father did not have an order obligating the mother to make the child available, it would be much more difficult (although not necessarily impossible) to prove parental kidnapping.

The father should, however, immediately file for divorce with the Court, so that the Court can render orders relating to the child and each parent’s time with them.

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Author: House Attorney

A house attorney has answered this question.