The outcome of family abduction is rarely good for the abducting family member. Parental kidnapping usually doesn’t solve problems as much as it creates new ones. And yet each year, thousands of family abductions take place across the country. Why do these family abductions happen?


  • The parent wants to force reconciliation, a new solution, or even communication. Although child abduction is absolutely not a good way to open communication or find an alternative solution, many abducting parents believe that it may be—or don’t know how else to act.
  • The parent wishes to hurt or punish the other parent. Some kidnappings are not so much about getting the child as they are about taking the child away from the other parent as payback or out of spite.
  • The parent wishes to buck the current child custody or visitation arrangement. When a custody decision is not made in their favor, or when a visitation agreement seems too limited, a parent may respond by abducting their children.
  • The parent suffers from mental illness or substance abuse issues. A large number of family abductions involve delusions, paranoia, depression, and drug abuse. Sociopaths have a noted history of family abductions.
  • The parent wants to protect their children from a situation of neglect or abuse. There are exceptions to every rule. In limited cases, a parent may be doing right by their children by removing them from a dangerous situation. Still, kidnapping is not likely the best option.


Do you need assistance with your Washington child custody case? Call the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny today to speak with an attorney and get the answers you need at 425-460-0550.

Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington
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