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Child Custody and Kidnapping in San Diego in 2013 for Parents in a Legal Separation, Paternity or Divorce

Custody and potential kidnapping of children are complex issues however they present themselves in some cases in San Diego when there are disagreements regarding the parenting plan of the child or children in a divorce, paternity or legal separation case. If these are matters that concern you then you must obtain reliable and credible information to assist you to prevent a child kidnapping or to recover your child as son as possible if kidnapped.

My child’s other parent plans to take the child out of the state. How can I stop this from happening?

In San Diego, whenever a paternity, legal separation or divorce is issued by petition and summons, there are automatic temporary restraining orders [ATRO] which are listed on the summons. One of these is that neither parent may take the child or children outside of California without the written permission of both parents or a court order. These are standard and you do not have to ask for them to be issued. Of course, a piece of paper does not stop a parent from taking a child in violation of the order. As such, if you suspect the other parent is planning to leave the state and take your child and is a flight risk, the San Diego Superior Court can provide for an emergency custody order which you’ll have to ask the Judge to issue. There are many factors which consist of a Judge making a flight risk determination such as selling your house, closing bank accounts, buying airline tickets, quitting a job and many others under the California Family Law Code. A Judge can order passports held and even supervised visitation. Of course, in San Diego, it is very easy to drive into Mexico and obtain a passport from the embassy in Mexico and then fly to the country. As such, preventative measures may be the most appropriate but this is in a case by case basis.

If my child is taken out of the state by the other parent, can I charge the parent with kidnapping?

There’s no easy answer to that question because it depends on various factors. The laws on custodial interference or parental kidnapping are complex. For example, if the parents are married and no court orders or filings, then either parent can take the child or children for a “vacation” and this can be for extended duration. If the parents are not married, and it is a paternity case but again no court orders or filings, then the mother can take the child or children for a “vacation”.

The San Diego Superior Court may view this transgression of the law only if there is a custody order in force which is violated or if there is a custody case pending which is yet to be settled. Other determining factors are whether the parents were married and enjoy the same parental rights. Or in cases where the parents were unmarried whether the father has legally established his paternity.

Still other factors which are of consequence are how long is the parent planning to take the child out of the state for. Is it a short visit, an extended visit, or is it likely to be long time and is truly a “move”.

If you are facing such a situation you need to speak to an experienced family law attorney and one who practices issues of child custody and abduction. No parent should harm a child. Every parent may assume that their ex-spouse wants to see their child unless otherwise stated or ordered. Either way, just taking the child without obtaining permission or at least an understanding from the other parent could be harmful to the child and not in the child’s best interests.

Child Custody and Related Issues in San Diego

A committed family law firm in San Diego which practices in such cases is the family law firm of Doppelt and Forney, APLC. If you are facing such problems, avail of a free introductory virtual consultation with an experienced family law attorney.

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