Is it Parental Kidnapping When The Child You Took is Your Own Kid?

Yes, we know – it sounds preposterous. How could a parent be accused of kidnapping a child when it’s their own kid, right? Surely you aren’t a kidnapper just because you want a little extra time with your own child? How could anyone possibly accuse you of parental kidnapping  when you love your child and all you want is to be with them? It just doesn’t sound possible.Not right here in Michigan! 

A father's open hand with a small child's hand lying across his palm.

And yet it is. Here in mid-Michigan, parental kidnapping happens more often than most people realize. And despite the fact that the child, the “kidnapping victim” is your very own kid, you could still be up against some very serious criminal charges if you don’t release your kid to their other parent at the time the court order requires you to. So, let this serve as a reminder to you. Obey the court orders. Always. If you don’t like the court orders, hire a top rated family law attorney to ask the judge to change the orders. 

Custody and parenting time orders must be taken seriously. (Because kidnapping charges certainly are!)

In the same way that probation and prison sentences are court orders that have to be obeyed, parenting time and custody plans are also court orders. If a couple with children gets divorced and they agree on joint custody, or primary custody going to one parent while the other parent gets visitation, the court has to approve the agreement. That makes it a legally binding court order after the judge signs off on it. And that means you have no choice but to follow it to the letter. 

Court ordered visitation says you have to return their kid to their other parent by 3 pm on Sunday every week? Well, then that’s what you’ve got to do. Custody agreement says your child gets to spend three days a week with their other parent? Well then, you owe that parent three days with your child every week, whether you like it or not. If both parents agree to change the times, it’s best to have that agreement in writing. 

Not following court orders can get you into a lot of trouble!

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…”

In other words, anyone who refuses to return a child to the custodial parent at the end of the court ordered visitation, or at the end of their court ordered custody parenting period, could get into a lot of trouble with the law. You could be hunted down by the police, arrested, charged with a very serious crime, and end up behind bars. From Okemos to Charlotte over to St. Johns and Jackson, and all the places in between, judges and prosecutors often take custodial kidnappings very seriously.

If you want more time with your child, there are better ways to do that!

Parents from Lansing, Howell and Holt have all struggled with their visitation and custody schedules. They think the court was unfair, or their ex was devious. Or they simply don’t think they’re getting enough time to be with their child and they want more. It’s perfectly normal. But refusing to return your child to their other parent isn’t the way to solve that problem!

Here at The Kronzek Firm we are parents as well as being experienced family law attorneys. We understand how much you love your kids, and how badly you want to be a part of their daily lives. So if you live in or around Lansing, Ingham County, Eaton or Clinton counties, and you want to discuss modifying your custody or parenting time schedule, call us at 517 886 1000. Our understanding and hard working family law attorneys spent decades helping parents from all over mid-Michigan, and we’re here to help you too!