Custody in New Jersey Parental Child Abduction Cases

Child custody is determined by way of a court order and can either be before or after a divorce, or outside the parameters of marriage entirely. The parents of a child are obligated to abide by this order, which is typically created to serve the best interest of their child. Unfortunately, a parent may violate a custody agreement by removing their child from the other parent, which could constitute parental child abduction under state law.

If your child has been unlawfully taken from you by the other parent, a compassionate lawyer could explain the impact of custody in New Jersey parental child abduction cases and work to return your child safely home.

Custodial Parents vs. Non-Custodial Parents

When a parent has custody of his or her child, that means that the child has primary residence with that parent and typically lives in their home. The non-custodial parent is the one who spends time with the child according to an agreed-upon parenting schedule. Parenting plans are often drafted in the custody contract process during a divorce.

Though a custody contract gives the custodial parent certain rights to their child that the non-custodial parent may not have, it does not give them the right to remove their child from the state without the other parent’s permission or an order of the court. If the custodial parent does this, they could be accused of parental child abduction, which could re-open their New Jersey custody case.

How Does Custody Status Impact Abduction Cases?

Regardless of whether a child is abducted by their custodial parent or their non-custodial parent, the consequences for this action will remain the same. Under state law, abduction is classified as such no matter the child’s custody situation. In the absence of written consent from the other party for the removal of the child from New Jersey (and potentially within the state if the distance would change the parenting time of the other parent) or a court order allowing that parent to remove the child, then the outcome of the case is the same. An experienced New Jersey attorney could explain the consequences of a parental child abduction case to either a custodial or non-custodial parent.

Though neither parent can remove their child from the other without permission, it is possible for the custodial parent to get permission to do so from the court. A non-custodial parent would have to first obtain custody of the child before being granted the court’s permission to take this action. Additionally, a kidnapping is only classified as a parental child abduction if it is perpetrated by one of the child’s parents. If another party, such as a grandparent, takes the child away unlawfully, it would be considered a third-party child abduction, and it would be covered under criminal law statutes rather than family law.)

A New Jersey Attorney Could Address Custody Issues in Parental Child Abduction Cases

If you are facing a parental child abduction situation, a qualified legal professional could consult with you and come up with a strategy to get your child back. They could file an emergency application with the court to order the child’s return and submit the proper documents and evidence. Having an advocate who is familiar with custody in New Jersey parental child abduction cases could make a significant difference. Call today to schedule a consultation and learn more.

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