Updated: Nov 1, 2021
The term "parental kidnapping" is thrown around a lot in divorce and custody cases along with the term "child abandonment". Both rarely apply to custody issues. This article will address "parenting kidnapping", click the link above to read about "abandonment".
Parental kidnapping is defined by MCL 750.350a as "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."
Actual parental kidnapping is a felony punishable by imprisonment or a monetary penalty, however, this rarely applies to custody or divorce cases. The reason this rarely applies is because of the language of the statute, namely "custody or parenting time rights under a lawful court order". If there is NOT a Court Order in place, it may not be parental kidnapping. If you don't have a Court Order defining what parenting time each parent is supposed to have, you can't accuse the other parent of withholding the child.
What do you do if a parent is withholding your child? There are several things you can do, the first of which should hopefully include contacting a child custody attorney to review the case and the rights the parent has (beware that if you are the father of a child born out of wedlock, you may not have any rights if you haven't filed a case!). If you do have court ordered custody or parenting time and the other parent is refusing to produce the child(ren), see this link for more information and ideas.
Attorney Allison Greenlee Korr handles cases in Kalamazoo, Battle Creek and all surrounding counties, call today for a consultation. 269-381-4471