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Stop and think before you violate a custody order

As a parent, you typically do everything you can to protect your kids. You make sacrifices and difficult decisions; you set rules and enforce penalties; you make an effort to know their friends and make sure you know where they are at all times. These decisions can certainly keep your kids safe and healthy.

However, there are times when this desire to protect a child clouds a parent's judgment, and a single decision could ultimately harm that child -- and your rights as a parent. For instance, if you fail to comply with the terms of a child custody plan because you do not want to return your child to the other parent, you could be accused of kidnapping.

If a parent takes a child without permission or refuses to return a child after a scheduled visit, that parent could be charged with kidnapping. State, federal and even international authorities can get involved in the efforts to have the child returned. What may have seemed like a good idea at the time can quickly turn into the biggest mistake a parent could have made.

While there may be situations in which a parent thinks that keeping a child from another parent is in his or her best interests, violating a court order and taking a child without permission is never a good idea.

If there are legitimate concerns about a child's well-being when he or she is with another parent, it is best to consult your attorney to discuss the options for modifying a custody plan. You can also contact the authorities in the event that immediate, more aggressive action is warranted.

Parental abduction is a very real threat to a child's safety, and it is just one example of custody interference. Besides the criminal consequences a parent can be facing in cases involving kidnapping charges, there can be other remedies like changes to a custody plan and even revocation of parental rights.

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