A sad girl alone in room, Parental Abduction

In Illinois, specific laws cover the topics of parenting time and visitation, and failure to follow a court order could lead to serious consequences. When a parent takes or hides a child from the other parent with sole or joint parental responsibilities, it can be frightening. It is also illegal.

Parental Kidnapping Laws

The Parental Kidnapping Prevention act, or PKPA, is a federal law that requires individual states to enforce custody and visitation orders from other states. This Act gives preference to the home state, where the child resided within the past six months. This is intended to prevent a child’s parents from going to another state, with the intention of obtaining a custody ruling in their favor.

Any of the following situations is considered child abduction by a parent:

  • When a parent intentionally violates a court order granting visitation or shared parental responsibility to another by hiding, detaining or removing the child without notifying the other parent.
  • When a parent keeps a child away from the mother, even if paternity has been established, when no parental responsibility orders have been entered.
  • When a parent conceals a child from a spouse or former spouse for 15 days without notifying them of the location of the child or providing for reasonable contact, unless they are in a domestic violence program.
  • When parents are married or have been married and no parental responsibility order exists and one parent hides, detains or removes a child, whether by threat or by force.

The Consequences of Child Abduction

Separation of parents is a potentially devastating situation for a child, which is further complicated when court orders are not adhered to. Though interference with parenting time is considered a minor offense, for the most part, in Illinois, two prior convictions can lead to up to a year in jail along with a $2,500 fine.

Any officer of the law who holds probable cause that a parent has violated the law regarding parenting time or visitation interference must issue a notice for that parent to appear in court. Failure to appear in court can result in arrest.

Divorce and co-parenting are often tricky situations that require delicate handling to ensure that laws are being followed and the best interest of children are being sought. Afamily law attorney can provide additional information regarding parental abduction, child visitation and parental time sharing and the law.