What Defines Parental Kidnapping in Florida?

What Defines Parental Kidnapping in Florida

When most people think of kidnappings, they think of children being abducted by complete strangers. While this is the case in some kidnappings, parental kidnapping is also very common in the state of Florida. Parental kidnapping occurs when a parent takes a child away from the other parent against their will, but there are a lot of other factors that play a role in parental kidnapping cases. Here’s what you need to know about parental kidnappings in Florida and how The Committee for Missing Children can help.  

Legal Definition

It’s understandable that parents may be frightened and confused if their child is taken by another parent against their will, but it’s important to understand what’s actually considered parental kidnapping by Florida law. Under Chapter 787 of the Florida Statute, parental kidnapping is defined as forcibly or secretly abducting or imprisoning another person against their will. However, in order for a case to be considered a parental kidnapping, the abduction must be committed with intent to:

  • Commit or facilitate a felony
  • Hold a person hostage
  • Inflict bodily harm
  • Interfere with any government function, such as the confinement of a child under the age of 13 without the consent of that child’s parent or guardian

In the state of Florida, an abduction that meets the above criteria qualifies as a first-degree felony. There may also be other charges filed depending on the nature of the crimes committed by the parent who kidnaped your child.

Parental Kidnapping without Intent

While Florida law defines parental kidnapping as the kidnapping of a child with the intent to commit a felony, hold that child hostage, or inflict bodily harm, those aren’t necessarily requirements for a parent to get in trouble for kidnapping. A parent who kidnaps a child without the consent of the other parent may still face legal consequences even if they don’t abduct a child with any of the intents considered by Florida law. Some common examples of these parental kidnappings include one parent moving a child out of state without the consent of the other parent, or a parent refusing to let a child see the other parent.

In some cases, a parent may kidnap a child in an attempt to protect them from a potentially abusive parent. If you believe the other parent of your child is being violent or abusive with your child, parent kidnapping may be justified. When this happens, the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) may take action to help protect a child from an abusive parent. This is known as a DCF dependency action, and it’s typically a result of an accusation of abuse or neglect against the parent of a child.

Protecting Children from Kidnapping

If you’re concerned about what the other parent of your child might do, there are additional ways to protect your child. The Child Abduction Protection Act can help judges and courts make appropriate rulings and take appropriate actions if you believe your child is at risk of abduction during custody proceedings. You may need to prove that the other parent has a history of child abuse, domestic violence, or attempts to leave the state or country with your child without consent.

Getting legal help is important if you believe your child may be abducted by the other parent. The Committee for Missing Children can help you protect your child from abduction and recover them if they are abducted.

What Should You Do if Your Child Has Been Kidnapped by Their Other Parent?

If your child is kidnapped by their other parent, it’s important to take action right away and take the right steps to get them home safely. The first thing you need to do if your child has been abducted is to report that abduction to local law enforcement. You should also reach out to missing children’s clearinghouses and other law enforcement agencies in Florida and neighboring states to file a missing person’s report. Here’s everything you need to know if your child has been kidnapped by their other parent. 

Casting a Wide Net

The most important thing you can do if your child has recently been abducted is trying to cast a wide net. Filing a report with your local law enforcement agency is a good first step, but your child may be headed to another city, county, or state. By notifying law enforcement agencies in nearby regions and making sure there’s an official missing person’s report filed, you increase the chances of getting your child home safely.

The Committee for Missing Children can help you reach out to law enforcement agencies to make sure everybody in the area knows about your missing child. This is an important first step in getting your child back home safely and achieving peace of mind.

Get Help Today

There’s no denying that having a child abducted is one of the scariest experiences a parent can have. The good news is, The Committee for Missing Children can help you make all the right steps to locate your missing child and reunite with them as soon as possible. By reaching out to law enforcement agencies and exhausting all available resources, we can help you cast a wide net to increase the odds of finding a missing child in Florida. If your child has been kidnapped by their other parent, contact The Committee for Missing Children to get help today.

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