Nashua Parental Kidnapping Attorney
Serving Hillsborough County, New Hampshire
Parental kidnapping occurs when one parent takes their child without the consent of the other parent or one who has established visitation rights, as in the case of grandparents' visitation rights.
The available legal options depend on the language of the court custody order, if any. If no custody court order exists then one may seek an emergency custody order. The options also depend on where the child is currently located. Some option include:
- ✔ File a contempt of custody order action.
- ✔ Employ the State Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA).
- ✔ Employ the Federal Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act (PKPA).
How and where to seek relief, or to defend against an allegation, is fact specific. Consult with Attorney Driscoll for a private discussion and to learn more.
The State Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act
Each state has adopted law that affords full faith and credit for child custody orders, e.g., its Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. The intent of this patchwork of state laws is to avoid jurisdictional conflicts where parental rights and obligations are at issue. For example, to issue an initial or modify and existing child custody order, whether a court may act in the event of an emergency, and what should be done when there are multiple custodial proceedings taking place in different states at the same time.
Issues that arise include where the existing custody order, if any, originated and whether that custody order has registered in another state for action in that state. Litigation under competing Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Acts can be both complex and outcome determinative. Consult with Attorney Driscoll for a private discussion and to learn more.
The New Hampshire Crime of Interference with Custody
It is a crime to knowingly cause, take, or entice a minor child to leave New Hampshire with the intent to detain or conceal that child from:
- • a parent, guardian or other person having lawful parental rights and responsibilities; or,
- • an agency that has protective supervision or legal custody or guardianship of the child.
If the child is removed out of New Hampshire then the crime is a felony, otherwise it is a misdemeanor.
For those charged criminally, there are defenses available, such as if the person charged can prove that they acted in good faith to protect the child from real and imminent physical danger. Defenses are only legally viable if they meet the demands of court scrutiny. Consult with Attorney Driscoll to learn more about your options, whether you are pursuing relief or defending against the action.
The Federal Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act
The Federal Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act makes available the FBI for locating parental kidnappers who cross state lines to avoid felony prosecutions. It also gives state and federal agents access to the Department of Health and Human Services parental locator service.
The Fugitive Felon Act provides that traveling in interstate or foreign commerce with the intent of avoiding prosecution for a felony offense under the laws of the place from which one has fled is a federal offense. In other words, interstate or international flight to avoid prosecution under state felony statutes prohibiting parental kidnapping, child abduction, and related offenses constitutes a commission of this federal offense. The Federal Felon Act provides use of the full manpower and resources of both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice for the apprehension and prosecuting of a parent who "kidnaps" his or her child and removes that child from a state that makes such conduct a felony.
Although the Federal Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act and the Fugitive Felon Act appear to have teeth, there are specific requirements that must be met. Once met, permitting the powers of those acts is still discretionary. Consult with Attorney Driscoll for a private discussion and to learn more.
Damages for Wrongful Custody Child-napping
A civil action may be taken as a remedy for the interference with parental rights as well as the abduction or wrongful restraint of a child. The culprit and third-parties who aids or abets the culprit can be found liable.
International Custody Disputes
Children who have been wrongfully taken or retained in a foreign country fall under the jurisdiction of an international agreement, the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction ("the Convention"). The rules of the Convention are exacting and must be followed scrupulously. One such rule is that the Convention does not apply to nonparticipating states. If you are involved in an international matter then the timeliness and facts of your situation will govern the advice provided.
Attorney Driscoll explains the law in plain-English. He can prepare you for what lies ahead. In a fog of chaos, I can work with you to develop your goals and provide you with choices and direction. Call (603) 589-4040 for a private consultation. His handicapped accessible office is conveniently located at 20 Trafalgar Square in Nashua, NH. My office is quickly accessible from Amherst Street (Route 101A) as well as Exits 7W and 8 off the Everett Turnpike.