As a parent, imagine this scenario: Your ex, who does not have visitation rights with your children, picks up the kids from school or day care without your knowledge and disappears with them. Some ex-spouses may do this to hurt the other parent or from a sincere desire to spend more with their kids. However, whatever the case, they are kidnapping your children and thus, breaking the law.
Illinois Law Pertaining to Parental Kidnapping
Parental kidnapping is a crime that falls under Illinois’s child abduction laws. A parent who abducts his/her own children may also be charged under aggravated abduction laws. In Illinois, you will be considered a kidnapper if you do the following:
- Intentionally violate the terms of a court-ordered custody arrangement by hiding your child or preventing him/her from leaving.
- Remove or hide your child after you file a petition pertaining to paternity or marriage before the court has decided on custody.
- Remove your child from the jurisdiction of the court.
- Hide, remove, or detain your child without the consent of the mother or the legal guardian in case paternity or custody has not been established.
Before finalizing a divorce, divorcing couples are placing safeguards in their divorce decrees to protect their children against such incidents. They either post bonds or money, which is held in trust to ensure they can track the fleeing parent in case of an abduction. They can also mandate supervised visits or child collection or hold the other parent’s passport during visitations.
If you still fear a kidnapping, you can always ask for an emergency custody order, according to the Uniform Child Custody and Enforcement Act. According to the mandate, you can file this order if the child is present in the state or if he/she requires immediate protection in case of a threat such as abuse.
If you are going through a divorce in Elgin, Illinois, or want to separate from your children’s parent you must determine parenting time and custody beforehand. Contrary to popular belief, the court will not allow the child to remain with the mother if she is found to be an unfit parent. Get in touch with our attorneys at the Casement Group, P.C. to ensure you get the best arrangement that suits you and your children. Our highly experienced lawyers can help you where you cannot help yourself.