A parent who removes the child from the state and intends to deny access to the other parent may be guilty of parental kidnapping. More commonly, though, a parent who denies access to the other parent may face charges of custodial interference. Read on to learn more about custodial interference and kidnapping, and what you should do if you are dealing with this situation.
Definitions of Custodial Interference
According to the Washington State Code Chapter 9a.40.060, custodial interference in the first degree is when a relative of a minor child takes, detains, retains, or conceals the child with the intent to deny access to a person with legal custodial rights. A person commits custodial interference in the second degree, on the other hand, when the same occurs, but with the intent to deny access to the non-custodial parent who is entitled to visitation rights with the child.
Penalties for Custodial Interference in Washington State
A first-degree charge of custodial interference in Washington is a class C felony. The first second-degree charge is a gross misdemeanor. Subsequent second-degree charges are class C felonies.
A class C felony is punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine of $10,000. A gross misdemeanor is punishable by imprisonment for up to 364 days and/or up to $5,000 in fines.
As a note, kidnapping of the first degree is a class A felony, and kidnapping in the second degree is a class B felony. The former is punishable by at least 20 years and/or a fine of up to $50,000. The latter is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $20,000.
Does moving a child out of state count as custodial interference?
If a parent moved a child out of state without a court order, and the move is an attempt to hide the child or deny another parent his or her visitation rights, then the parent who moves the child may face charges of custodial interference. It is rare for a parent to be charged with kidnapping in a situation such as this. However, you should speak with an attorney if you believe the other parent has committed parental child abduction or kidnapping, or custodial interference.
Speak with an Attorney about Child Custody & Kidnapping or Interference
The laws surrounding child custody in Washington can be confusing. If you believe the other parent has wrongfully denied you access to your child, seek legal help with a family law attorney. In addition to reporting the crime to the police, speak with a family law attorney regarding how you can reclaim custody of your child or enforce other custody or visitation rights.
At the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny, our attorneys are ready to work with you. To reach our law offices now, dial 425-460-0550 or contact us online.