What is it called when a parent kidnaps their own child?

Have you ever found yourself asking the question, “What is the name of this?” From the tiny plastic things at the end of shoelaces to the small metal cage that holds a champagne cork in the bottle, there are many things we know exist but don’t know the name given to them. It’s for this very reason that we are asking the question above:

What is it called when a parent kidnaps their own child?

The act of one parent fleeing to another state or country without the other parent’s consent is called family child abduction. Though sometimes referred to as parental kidnapping by some, this action is illegal in all 50 states. In fact, as Assistant Attorney General Laurie O. Robinson explained in a 2010 publication for the U.S. Department of Justice, it’s estimated that “more than 200,000 children become victims of family abduction” every year in the United States.

Why is family child abduction such a big deal?

As you can imagine, a family child abduction oftentimes leaves one parent completely unaware of where their child is, preventing them from maintaining a relationship with their child through visitations. This is why family child abductions are illegal in our country, because they interfere with a person’s parental rights and sometimes even court orders.

Are there any remedies under the law?

Yes. Not only does the Federal Bureau of Investigation take family child abductions seriously, so too do other countries. As we have explained before on our blog and on our site, countries that have signed the Hague Convention have agreed to honor the child custody laws of other signees. When a foreign government is notified of a family child abduction, authorities in that country work with the “left behind” parent’s national government to return the child if possible.

As always, parents do have the right to an attorney who can also help honor a parent’s parental rights by assisting in the return of the child.

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