Legal Information: General

Parental Kidnapping

Can I move my children out of the state?

The answer to this question is very complicated and may depend on many different factors.  We strongly suggest talking to a lawyer for specific legal advice on your situation.  The laws on parental kidnapping (also known as custodial interference, child concealment, or parental abduction) are different in each state.  In some states, it may be against the law to take children out of state only if it violates a custody order or if there is an active custody case pending.  In other states, the act of taking the children out of state itself may not be illegal unless the parent conceals (hides) the children from the other parent.  Other factors that may be considered are whether the parents are married (and considered to have equal parental rights) or, in the case of unmarried parents, whether the father's paternity has been legally established.  Additionally, there may be a big difference between if you are planning a short trip out of state or if you are intended to move out of state long-term.

Again, please talk to a lawyer in the state you are thinking of leaving from who understands custody laws and criminal laws to determine what your state's laws are and how they might apply to your situation.  Please click on Finding a Lawyer.

If you have been charged or fear being charged with parental kidnapping, please let us know and we will try to get you in touch with an organization that can help you.

Depending on your situation, you may also want to apply for temporary emergency custody. Please see Can I get temporary emergency custody? for more information.