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Can a parent abduct their own child?

When a Tennessee parent has their parental rights limited through a child custody order or agreement, certain actions that once may have been permissible for them to take with regard to their kids may run them afoul of the law. Parental kidnapping is a possible charge that a parent may face if they take their child when they are not scheduled to have custody of the youth and are in violation of an operating custodial plan.

For example, imagine a family wherein the mother and father share physical and legal custody of their minor child. Imagine that the mother has physical custody of the child Sunday through Wednesday, and that the father has physical custody of the child Thursday through Saturday. Consider further that while the father is supposed to return the child to the mother by a certain time on Sunday morning, he elects to take the child on a trip without consulting the mother. Instead of returning the child on Sunday as planned, they travel out of state and do not return to the jurisdiction until Wednesday, when the father would normally take custody of the child.

In addition to being in violation of the family's custody plan, the father may be in legal trouble for absconding with his child. Even though he had physical and legal custody rights to his child, his actions violated the rights of the child's mother.

The mother may have options on how to handle the matter, which can be discovered by discussing the matter with her family law attorney as well as law enforcement officials in her community. The family may need to alter their child custody plan in the future to avoid this difficult legal scenario from playing out again and protecting both the parents and child from further custody-related problems.

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Law Office of Sam Byrd
3828 Dayton Blvd
Chattanooga, TN 37415

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