Can a Parent Really Kidnap Their Own Child?

Kidnapped children are usually taken by someone known to them – often a parent!


For some, the idea that a parent could kidnap their own child might sound preposterous. After all, this is your child! How could it possibly be kidnapping if you took them somewhere with you? And yet the answer to the question is yes – it can happen, and it does!


Kidnapping is a word associated with terrible things – aggrieved parents waiting by the phone, sobbing in each other’s arms, while FBI technicians stand by to trace the call when it finally comes in. But while this may be the case in high profile kidnappings, where the parents are wealthy and the child’s life is worth a literal fortune, a parental kidnapping is a very different kettle of fish. What does that mean? Let’s take a look….


It’s not money, but love that often drives parental kidnappings!


Custodial kidnapping often happens as a result of custody arrangements or visitation schedules that parents believe is unfair. For example, if the court awards full custody to a mother and only weekly visitation to a father, he may believe that this is unfair and that as a parent he has a right to be a regular part of his children’s lives. He may try to have the parenting time schedule modified, but the process is long, and attorneys can be very expensive. He may become desperate, and decide to take the situation into his own hands.


We used a dad for this example, but it could just as easily be a mom (and often is!) Both mothers and fathers struggle to be away from their children, and when the court strips them of the chance to be in their children’s daily lives, some of them resort to dangerous and illegal methods to solve the problem!


What does Michigan law say about parental kidnapping?


Under Michigan law, “An adoptive or natural parent of a child shall not take that child, or retain that child for more than 24 hours, with the intent to detain or conceal the child from any other parent or legal guardian of the child who has custody or parenting time rights under a lawful court order at the time of the taking or retention, or from the person or persons who have adopted the child, or from any other person having lawful charge of the child at the time of the taking or retention.”


In other words, a parent or guardian may not keep a child away from their other parent if the court has ordered that the other parent has the right to be with that child. It’s important to note that this works both ways. A parent with visitation rights may not refuse to return their child after the visitation period is over, and the parent with full or primary custody may not refuse to allow the parent with visitation to see their child at scheduled times.


What can you LEGALLY do if you want more time with your kids?


Most parents who share custody or have visitation want more time with their kids. For parents who believe that the other parent is a bad influence, or a danger, handing them over can be incredibly difficult. But the consequences of taking the matter into your own hands are so very severe, that it just isn’t worth it! The truth is, you can’t take care of your kids if you’re serving time in prison. Not to mention the fact that trying to kidnap your own kids could result in you losing custody all together!

If you or a loved one feel that your custody or visitation agreement needs to be altered, or that your children are in danger when they’re with their other parent, talk to an experienced family law attorney immediately.  Experienced and knowledgeable family law attorneys can assist in you in determining a safe and legal method (such as an Emergency Court Order) to protect your children. Call The Kronzek Firm today at 866 766 5245 to discuss your situation. Our attorneys are standing by to help you.




Stephanie just finished settling my divorce case. She did an excellent job handling every aspect of the case. When I came to her looking for an attorney, not knowing what was to come, angry and upset, she did excellent job reassuring me that everything was going to be okay. She explained the divorce process, what I could expect over the next few months and outlined the possible outcomes. She was well aware of my financial situation and very limited expendable income and did a great job doing whatever she could to keep my costs down. At times she would even remind me that she is happy to pursue any direction I wanted to go, but the cost involved may not outweigh the outcome. She did an excellent job letting me know where I could do things myself rather than paying the firm to do it as well as provided assistance to make sure I did it in the proper manner. And what was most impressive is a meeting with the ex and her lawyer. Stephanie actually had her phone out pulling up case law and verifying it to make sure the ex and her lawyer didn’t get something over on me. VERY IMPRESSIVE!. If you want an excellent attorney who isn’t going to tell you what you want to hear just to increase the cost for the firm’s benefit, call Stephanie Service.

Brian on Avvo, 2014

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