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Could I be Accused of ‘Kidnapping’ My Own Child in Florida?


If you are wondering, “How could I possibly kidnap my own child if I’m their parent?” the answer is, “You could!”. In the state of Florida, it is possible to kidnap your own child, and doing so could result in the termination of your parental rights.

If you do not want to lose your parental rights, it is vital to understand how you can kidnap your child in Florida to protect your legal rights as a parent. Speak with our Orlando family lawyers at Greater Orlando Family Law to discuss your particular situation.

When can you be guilty of kidnapping your child?

In most cases, parents kidnap their children in an attempt to deny the other parent’s visitation rights. However, contrary to popular belief, you can be found guilty of kidnapping your own child even if there is no court order.

Under Florida law, both parents have equal parenting rights unless those rights have been modified or terminated by a court (e.g., in the event of divorce).

You can be guilty of abduction if you decide to move your child more than 50 miles away from the child’s home in the absence of court approval, as provided in Section 61.13001, Florida Statutes. If you are considering relocating with your child, it is essential to consult with an experienced relocation attorney in Orlando to learn more about your rights and avoid allegations of kidnapping or abduction.

How Florida laws protect against parental kidnapping

Under Section 61.45, Florida Statutes, a court may take action if it has a reasonable belief that a parent may violate a parenting plan by kidnapping the child. Some of the court-ordered actions that may protect against parental kidnapping include:

Requiring a parent to obtain written permission or court order to relocate with the child or move him or her from Florida or the United States;

  • Requiring them to surrender the child’s foreign passport;
  • Prohibiting the parent from applying for a new passport for the child; and
  • Placing travel restrictions when trying to move the child outside of a designated location, city, or state.

Also, other requirements and restrictions may be ordered by the court to protect against parental kidnapping or abduction. Parental kidnapping is associated with harsh penalties. In fact, a parent who was found guilty of kidnapping their own child could lose parental rights and even face jail time.

What to do if you need to relocate with your child?

If you need to relocate with your child but do not want to be accused of parental kidnapping or abduction, there are certain steps you need to take before relocating with the child.

Typically, parents who want to relocate with a child need to seek approval from the other parent or the court. Approval is required when a parent wants to move the child more than 50 miles away from home.

If your move is temporary (less than 60 days), moving a child may not constitute a violation of the custody order. Either way, it is vital to consult with an experienced Orlando divorce attorney to ensure that you avoid allegations of parental kidnapping. Get a free initial consultation with our attorneys at Greater Orlando Family Law to discuss your case. Call at 407-377-6399.

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