What is Child Abduction?

In California, generally, “child abduction” is the violation of another’s right to physical custody of or visitation with a child. Here, a violation may be the result of a taking, enticing away, keeping, withholding, or concealing the involved child. It may be important to distinguish “child abduction,” which refers to a family related abduction, and “kidnapping,” which is an abduction by a stranger.

Most often, abduction occurs within the context of parents who are subject to a custody order.

If there is a child abduction within the context of an out-of-state custody order, court orders from other states or countries are generally enforceable in California. Here, if you live in California, it is child abduction for another person to deprive you of visitation or custody, even if your custody rights are contingent on court orders from another state.

If you believe your child has been abducted, contact your county’s district attorney to find out how to report child abduction in your county. If you believe that your child is in immediate danger, call 911.


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