My Ex Is Keeping My Child From Me Due to COVID-19 Concerns. Is This Parental Abduction?
Today I want to talk to you a little bit about the coronavirus and parental abduction. It goes without saying that the coronavirus has most people on edge and very anxious. Divorced parents who are sharing custody of children are no exception to this and they might be feeling this fear and anxiety even more than most people are. Just in the last few weeks I have been contacted by many frantic parents who’s ex-spouses have abducted their children. They have no idea what to do and they don’t know where to begin to get their children back.
Parental abduction occurs when one parent takes a child out of state away from the other parent without the other parent’s consent or with the intent of not returning the child. Simply taking your child out of state without permission from the other parent does not constitute parental abduction. The parent who is removing the child from the state must have informed the other parent that they don’t plan to or intent on returning the child. Or they must have behaved in such a manner that shows that intent. For example, showing intent could be signing a new lease on an apartment in a different state or getting a new job in a different state.
If this has happened to you, you should immediately file a motion with the court, asking the court to have the child returned to you immediately. Typically the court will issue an order within a few days after this motions has been filed.
If you are the parent who has abducted the child for whatever reason, know that you are doing this at the risk of court punishment. Even if you have good intentions because you feel that the child will be safer with you during this epidemic with the coronavirus, you are still violating an active court order. Please know that the penalty for violating a Nevada child custody order is a category D felony. You may be penalized by:
- Having your visitations cut back or limited temporarily
- You may be subject to between one and four years of jail time
- You may have to pay a fine of up to $5,000.
So please do not do anything drastic during this time. The most important thing for parents to remember now is that everyone, including your children, are going through anxiety and fear because of the situation. So the best thing for parents to do is try to co-parent as amicably as possible. Also, remember that your children’s best interest is what is most important in this time.
If you have questions about how to handle a Family Law issue in light of the coronavirus, please do not hesitate to contact our office. We can be reached at (702) 998-1188, firstname.lastname@example.org, or by scheduling a consultation online.