Parental Kidnapping in North Carolina

Posted by Josh Valentine | Jul 16, 2019

When parents think about a child being kidnapped, they often think of a stranger in a van luring the child in to take them away. In reality, child abductions by strangers are extremely rare. Unfortunately, most child abductions or kidnappings involve someone the child may know, including a child's own parent. 

Parental kidnapping in North Carolina is often the result of a contentious child custody battle or divorce. One parent cannot deprive the other parent of contact or visitation on their own. If your ex is violating a parenting order and takes your child away without telling you where the child is, you should contact North Carolina family law attorneys at Caulder & Valentine Law Firm, PLLC as soon as possible to protect your child and your parenting rights.

What is Parental Kidnapping?

According to the Polly Klaas Foundation, over 200,000 children in the U.S. are abducted each year by a family member, usually a parent. Family and parent abductions account for 78% of all missing children.  A survey by the U.S. Department of Justice shows that more than 50% of family abducted children were abducted by their biological father and 25% were abducted by their biological mother. 

It may not be immediately obvious that the other parent is engaged in child abduction. Family abduction is taking or keeping a child by a family member in violation of a custody order or custodial rights through some element of concealment, flight, or intent to deprive the other lawful custodian indefinitely. 

To Protect the Child

Parents may take a child away from the other parent for a number of reasons. In rare cases, the other parent may fear for the child's safety if the other spouse is violent or abusive. Whenever a parent fears abuse or harm from the other spouse, he or she should seek court protections instead of taking matters into their own hands. Self-help could result in contempt charges or even criminal kidnapping charges. 

To Hurt the Parent or Get Revenge

Many child abductions by family members are motivated by revenge or trying to hurt the other parent. They may be angry at the other parent for getting a divorce, having an affair, or trying to keep the parent from harming the child. Family abductors may have a history of domestic violence, substance abuse, or mental illness. Parents may also try and use parental kidnapping to force continued interaction or negotiate reconciliation.

Protecting Your Child from Parental Kidnapping

If the other parent ever makes a threat, comment, or suggestion that he or she could take the child away, you should consider getting the police or courts involved. Parental abductions often involve threats to flee with a child before the parent goes through with the threat. 

There are a number of laws to help address the issue of parental kidnapping. The Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act (PKPA), provides for child custody case conflicts between states so that the child's home state governs child custody and visitation. 

International child abductions can be more complicated and depend on the relationship between the U.S. and other countries where the child has been taken. The Hague Abduction Convention provides for a civil process international parental abduction cases to protect children involved in parental kidnapping.  

Child Custody Disputes and Abduction in Shelby   

At Caulder & Valentine Law Firm, PLLC, we have helped parents protect their children in child custody disputes where a parent abducted their child. For child custody and resolving parental kidnapping in Shelby, Gaston County, and across North Carolina, contact us today for a consultation.

About the Author

Josh Valentine

You could say Josh has a God-given ability for sustaining long-term relationships. He and his wife first met in elementary school and went to Gardner Webb University (GWU) together, where they tied for number 1 in their class. Then, they both started law school on the same day of their graduation and got married during their first semester. He has also known his law partner Blake Caulder since Kindergarten. Theirs is the perfect partnership. “He’s the brake; I am the accelerator,” Josh says. Both Josh and his wife attended an innovative program at Charlotte Law School that allowed them to complete law school in two years instead of the typical three. His wife graduated and passed the North Carolina bar at age 20, becoming one of the youngest attorneys in the state. He readily admits she’s smarter than him. Of course, Josh went on to pass the North Carolina State Bar himself and later the South Carolina State Bar. While in school, he was Associate Editor of the Law Review and received accolades like Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society membership, Order of the Crown, Pro Bono Honors, CALI Awards (highest grade). In his career as a lawyer, he has been admitted to the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, is a member of the American Association of Premier DUI Attorneys, and completed training for DWI Detection & Standardized Field Sobriety Testing. Josh has also been named to the Top 40 Under 40 for Criminal Defense by The National Trial Lawyers, the Business North Carolina 2019 Legal Elite for Criminal Defense, and the 10 Best Attorneys for Client Satisfaction by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys three years in a row (2016, 2017, and 2018). Community involvement has been important to Josh all his life. In high school, he participated in building a Holocaust museum that has become internationally regarded. He and his wife are actively engaged in animal rescue, which currently means seven cats and two kittens. He served in prison ministry and assisted with fundraiser banquets there, and he provides pro bono and reduced fee legal services to those in need. As if all of that weren’t enough, Josh also mentors high risk youth and helps with his church’s youth group. He participates in other community volunteer projects involving construction, remodeling, drywall, painting, and landscaping. He’s an active student of the Bible and has traveled to Israel, Brazil, and Europe for mission work. No one can say Josh isn’t a well-rounded individual. In his spare time, he likes to play softball, basketball, and tennis, and he can play the piano and trombone. Sometimes on weekends, believe it or not, he enjoys pouring and finishing concrete with friends who own a concrete and grading business. In his law practice, Josh has made it a point to develop positive relationships with officers, clerks, and district attorneys, which has proven invaluable in delivering positive results for his clients. It’s important to him to both listen to his clients and fight for them. Law enforcement officers have important responsibilities to keep our communities safe and uphold the law, but one of the responsibilities of attorneys is to make sure officers do their job correctly. Josh considers it his job to hold them accountable for their actions. Josh is a person of deep faith. He knows that the established order of our universe and strength of America’s Judeo-Christian influenced court system is built on God’s word. His passion to serve each client with innovation, excellence and integrity is a byproduct of his faith. When asked why he became a lawyer, Josh says, “All through my life, I have personally witnessed family members and very close friends endure divorce, child custody battles, bankruptcy, civil lawsuits, and even fraudulent criminal accusations. I both saw and experienced the stress such events can place on an individual, and I realized that everyone, at some point in their life, needs hope, comfort, and encouragement. In each one of those situations, the person who was best situated to provide that vital support was their lawyer. So that’s why I became an attorney. I understand what you are going through, and I’m here to help you. Our office is focused on meeting your needs and guiding you through what may be the most difficult time of your life.” Education: Charlotte School of Law J.D., Magna Cum Laude Class Rank – 21 of 328 Associate Editor of Charlotte School of Law Law Review Certification and Concentration in Employment Law Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society Order of the Crown Pro Bono Honors CALI Awards (Highest Grade)—Lawyering Process I and Contracts I Full Scholarship Gardner-Webb University B.S. in Accounting, Summa Cum Laude Distinguished Senior Student Award – Highest GPA Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honorary Society Bar Admissions: North Carolina State Bar