Updated: Feb 16
This article is intended to provide step by step guidance to parents. Always seek the legal advice of an attorney in your area. Attorney Allison Greenlee Korr handles cases in Kalamazoo, Battle Creek and all surrounding counties, call today to schedule a consultation if needed.
Step 1: Is there a Court Order? If so, skip to Step 3.
Step 2: If there is no Court Order regarding custody or parenting time, Know your Rights! Review the links below that pertain to your situation and speak to an attorney if you're not sure:
Step 3: Call the authorities. You should contact local law enforcement first. This needs to be done carefully and delicately, my suggestions are:
Contact the police where the child is located on the non-emergency number or go to the station in person (with your court order!).
Indicate that you need a "peace officer" to escort you to pick up your child. Don't try to tell them to go get the child or be overly aggressive that they need to "enforce something". Gently request that a police officer come with you to pick up your child.
Make sure to tell them that you have a signed Court Order (or Affidavit of Parentage) that clearly shows that you should have your child, have a copy to show them!
If the local police station tells you they don't want to get involved in a domestic issue, I suggest you cite to them the following (you can also print this and bring it with you):
(1) 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.
(2) A parent who violates subsection (1) is guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year and 1 day, or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both.
Step 4: If local law enforcement won't help, you can also consider trying again with the Michigan State Police.
Step 5: If all else fails, call an attorney immediately to discuss your legal options in the Family Court. In my experience, not calling an attorney immediately and attempting to file something on your own results in months of waiting for a hearing as it is very often not filed correctly. See a professional that has handled this situation before and can get you into the Court as quickly as possible.
More Info: The U.S. Supreme Court has held that child abduction is child abuse.
As the United States Supreme Court recognized in *Abbott v. Abbott*, 130 S. Ct. 1983, 1996, 1997; 176 L.Ed.2d 789, 560 U.S. 1 (2010): An abduction can have devastating consequences for a child. “Some child psychologists believe that the trauma children suffer from these abductions is one of the worst forms of child abuse.” H.R.Rep. No. 103–390, p. 2 (1993), U.S.Code Cong & Admin.News 1993, pp. 2419, 2420. A child abducted by one parent is separated from the second parent and the child's support system. Studies have shown that separation by abduction can cause psychological problems ranging from depression and acute stress disorder to post traumatic stress disorder and identity-formation issues. See N. Faulkner, Parental Child Abduction is Child Abuse (1999).
Attorney Allison Greenlee Korr handles cases in Kalamazoo, Battle Creek and all surrounding counties, call today for a consultation. 269-381-4471