When parents file for divorce, child custody and visitation can be a hotly contested issue. While some couples can come into agreement as far as determining joint parenting plans or who will be the custodial parent, others fail to reach agreements and leave one or both parties feeling frustrated and resentful. Non-custodial parents and parents who for one reason or another have been denied visitation often feel justified in their anger, and can adopt the attitude that either the other parent or the court is denying their parental rights, and in certain cases, alleging that by not giving them custody, the court is placing their child in danger.
Parental kidnapping, legally referred to as custodial interference, is every divorcing parent’s nightmare. More than simply a family law matter, a parent who commits custodial interference will find themselves facing serious, criminal charges.
The Facts About Parental Kidnapping
The Polly Klaus Foundation is a national non-profit started by the family of a kidnapped child, and the group seeks to help find missing children, as well as to raise awareness on how to prevent them from going missing in the first place. The Foundation has developed a public service campaign called Stop Family Abductions Now to address the serious issues surrounding parental kidnappings. According to the Foundation, family abductions affect over 200,000 families a year, and the victims in these cases are children who are not only deprived a relationship with the parent they were taken from, but are often also deprived of healthcare and an education as the result of being forced to live a life on the run. According to the Polly Klaus Foundation, risk factors for parental abduction include the following:
- Frequent arguments with the child’s other parent about custody and visitation:
- A parent who has threatened abduction in the past;
- The non-custodial parent is a citizen of another country, or has no strong ties to the state in which the child currently resides;
- The parent has no job or financial ties to the area; and
- The parent has been engaged in activities such as selling a home or looking for work in other states.
Preventing Parental Kidnapping
According to the Polly Klaus Foundation, one of the best things you can do to prevent parental kidnapping is to get an official order of custody for the court. Child custody and visitation orders are governed under Section 63-15-210 the South Carolina Code of Laws, and provide legal protections if your child should be taken by their non-custodial parent. Parents who are guilty of violating a child custody order can be found guilty of Custodial Interference. Under Section 16-17-495 of the South Carolina Criminal Code, a parent who takes a child unlawfully could face felony charges, including fines and imprisonment up to ten years, depending on the circumstances surrounding the case.
Contact Our Experienced South Carolina Family Law Attorney
If you are involved in a custody dispute, contact our experienced South Carolina family law attorney. At Lauren Taylor Law, we have experience helping clients with complicated child custody matters, and can assist you in getting the protections needed to ensure your child’s safety. Serving the entire Upstate area, our Greenville attorney Lauren M. Taylor will guide you through the entire custody and visitation process, while ensuring your rights as a parent are protected. Contact our office today for an initial consultation.
South Carolina divorce attorney Lauren Taylor is an authority on family law in Charleston and Greenville. She graduated from the Charlotte School of Law, and has been practicing for more than ten years.
Since the firm’s inception in 2012, Mrs. Taylor has helped hundreds of people navigate the uncertainties surrounding the family and criminal court process.
She has cultivated a team that ensures each case has a strategy crafted specifically to the clients needs and desires.
Her commitment to top notch service has led her to open two additional offices in the low country where she now resides with her husband Michael and her golden retriever, Buster.