The classic depiction of a child abduction entails a kidnapper calling the parents for ransom in exchange for their child’s safe return. But what if the parent is the kidnapper?
A Michigan parent may fail to follow specific parental regulations of the divorce agreement and deliberately keeps their child from their co-parent. Once proven, they’re guilty of a crime known as parental kidnapping.
Grounds for parental kidnapping
The Michigan law may charge and convict your co-parent, or even your appointed legal guardian and your child’s adoptive parents, of parental kidnapping under the following provisions:
- Your co-parent took your child away for more than 24 hours.
- Your co-parent intentionally conceals your child, depriving you of your rightful legal custody, parenting time and visitation rights.
The state does not take parental abduction lightly, which means that your co-parent may suffer severe consequences for their felony conviction.
Punishments for parental kidnapping
Your co-parent may flee out of state or abroad to get your child as far away from you as possible. In the most unfortunate cases, they may also be guilty of violent and abusive behavior. Aside from having their custodial rights negatively affected, your co-parent may face the following penalties:
- Pay a maximum fine of $2,000.
- Serve prison time for at least a year and a day.
- Pay incurred financial expenses from trying to locate and return the child.
However, your co-parent’s affirmative defense may stand if their actions’ purpose is for the child’s safety and protection. They must prove that you pose an actual and immediate physical or mental threat to your child. Considering your child’s circumstances, it’s up to the family judge to examine the information from both parties and render a decision beyond a reasonable doubt. Therefore, there’s also a possibility for reduction or total dismissal of your co-parent’s charges.
Prioritizing the child’s interests
The intensity of your marriage’s disintegration also has an unimaginable impact on your child. To prioritize their overall well-being and free them from the emotionally taxing tug-of-war, the primary resolution is following the terms of the divorce agreement. But with the complexity of your situation, things may quickly escalate. It helps to have a thorough legal consultation to manage your high-conflict situation with your child’s interests as the priority.