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Michigan Family Law Blog

Friday, June 19, 2020

Can You Kidnap Your Own Child?

Parental kidnapping is a crime in the state of Michigan. The other parent can call the police or contact the prosecuting attorney and request that the parent who refuses to allow the parenting time gets charged with the crime of parental kidnapping.

These cases tend to be high-conflict, so you might not want to handle these allegations on your own without a lawyer. A Michigan child custody lawyer can help whether you are alleging that the other parent violated the parenting time, or someone has accused you of doing so. It is possible to kidnap your own child in Michigan. The ramifications can affect your future custody and visitation with your child, your criminal record, your liberty, and even your career.

Court-Ordered Parenting Time

Generally, there must be a court order of parenting time for the police or prosecuting attorney to enforce. When the other parent does not allow you to exercise your parenting time according to the schedule in the court order, you have two options. You can:

  • File a motion with the court, asking the court to enforce the terms of the parenting time order. You can ask your child custody lawyer to file and handle this motion on your behalf.

  • File a written complaint with the Friend of the Court and ask that their office start an enforcement action against the violating parent.

If the judge finds that one of the parents violated the parenting time order, the judge can take one or more of these actions:

  • Grant the other parent extra time to make up for the time wrongly denied by the violating parent.
  • Hold a hearing to rule on whether the violating parent should get held in civil contempt, which would typically result in imposing a monetary fine.
  • Change the terms of the existing custody and parenting time orders. This outcome can happen if the court decides that it is in the best interests of the child to have a different schedule. The judge might decrease the amount of parenting time for the violating parent for interfering with the rights of the other parent. In the alternative, the judge could change custody and modify the visitation schedule because of the actions of either the violating parent or the parent in compliance.

Because parental kidnapping is also a crime in Michigan, a parent can face criminal charges in addition to the remedies the family court could award.

Changes in Living Arrangements

Sometimes a child will move out of the custodial parent’s home and live with the other parent. The parent ordered to pay child support must continue to pay support as ordered until the court issues a modified order. In this situation, the parent with whom the child now lives should also seek a modification order that reflects the current living arrangements of the child, to avoid a possible accusation of parental kidnapping.

Child Support and Parental Kidnapping

Some custodial parents refuse to let the other parent exercise visitation if there is an arrearage of child support. A parent can lose custody of the child can get charge with parental kidnapping for doing so. Both parents must obey the terms of the parenting time order, regardless of whether the paying parent is current on child support.

Contact us today for a confidential consultation. Our Michigan child custody attorneys can help you navigate through these complicated situations to protect your legal rights.


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