What Happens When Your Spouse Kidnaps Your Child?

The importance of understanding this issue is two-fold. Not only do you need to know what to do if your former spouse takes your children without consent, but you need to protect yourself from being accused of parental kidnapping as well.

Imagine that you live in South Carolina, and you are in the middle of the divorce process. If you take your children across state lines and into North Carolina to visit a family member, you may expose yourself to unnecessary risk. If your spouse didn’t consent to the children leaving the state, you might have given them the ability to file for emergency custody.

What Is Parental Kidnapping?

You and your former spouse will discuss, negotiate, and agree upon a child custody agreement—or a judge decides on one for you. Violating the agreement and leaving with the child is parental kidnapping.

The previous example of crossing in North Carolina illustrates another way parental kidnapping occurs. There will be times when there is no custody agreement in place during the divorce process because it is being developed. Your former spouse must have your consent to leave with the child and vice versa.

What To Do When Your Spouse Leaves With The Children

There are two scenarios in which this could occur:

  1. When a custody agreement has been established.
  2. When a custody agreement hasn’t been established. 

If your former spouse has left with the children and has violated the terms of your agreement, contact the police and your attorney. By going against the custody agreement, they are in contempt and can be punished by the court. 

Let’s imagine that you are going through a divorce and are in the middle of working out a custody agreement. In this scenario, your former spouse has taken the children from South Carolina and into North Carolina. 

Though they are not in contempt (because there is no order) and haven’t broken any laws, you should contact your attorney immediately. There is no way of knowing for sure whether your spouse is attempting to avoid the jurisdiction of South Carolina. Your attorney will be in the best position to walk you through the steps for seeking emergency custody because your former spouse left the state with your children and without your permission.

Cate & Brough

Cate & Brough is composed of experienced family law attorneys who represent clients with a wide range of economic backgrounds. Our sole focus is to find the best resolution possible for you. We know how difficult this time in your life is, and we want to make it easier for you. Call us at (864)-585-4226 to schedule a consultation.

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Cate & Brough, P.A.

At Cate & Brough, we all have personal experience with family law and family court. We know more than just what the law says about your issue – we know what you are going through.

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