During a heated divorce or custody case, parents often become bitter or angry at the other spouse.

Usually a parent will attempt to minimize or limit the other parents’ placement or visitation time. Sometimes this is being difficult in working with pickups and drop-offs. Other times, it can mean the child not being dropped off at all. When one parent refuses to return the child to the other parent, parental kidnapping has occurred.

Parental kidnapping is much more than a simple custody dispute. It is intentionally taking or hiding a child to prevent a parent or legal guardian from having the custody which they are entitled to. In some Parental Kidnapping cases, the parent will have the child change names, attempt to change the appearance of the child, and move with the child a great distance away. This not only affects the other parent’s rights, but also affects the child caught in the middle. It can be a very traumatic event for the child involved, causing psychological problems later in life. The child may begin to question his identity as everything he once knew has been taken away.


Warning Signs of Parental Kidnapping:


  • You have not been able to contact your child or the person with custody of your child for more than 12 hours.
  • Your spouse, or former spouse, has threatened to take the child before.
  • The other parent or guardian has recently quit their job, sold their home, gotten the child’s medical records, or other activities which suggest moving.
  • The other parent has no strong ties to the child’s home state.

In Wisconsin, if a parent has failed to bring the child to the individual who has court ordered physical placement or visitation rights for more than 12 hours after the beginning of the time, than parental kidnapping has occurred. The child does not need to be moved out of state for a parent or guardian to be guilty of parental kidnapping. Parental kidnapping is a felony charge in Wisconsin and the court can order the guilty party to pay restitution or reimburse the costs of attempting to find the child.

If you are going through a divorce or child custody case and you think your spouse, or former spouse, has kidnapped your child, contact our Milwaukee attorneys immediately so they can help you in the process of reuniting you with your child. At John T Fields and Associates, a law firm with more than 25 years of experience in family law, the lawyers will help make sure you follow the necessary reporting to the authorities, as well as fight for your rights in the court room once the child has been located. If you feel that the other parent may take your child, or has threatened to take your child, without your consent, talk to an attorney right away. They can request the court to put orders in place to be able to prevent your child from being taken.

Issues dealing with child custody, such as parental kidnapping, are complicated. It is important to have an experienced attorney on your side. John T. Fields & Associates have handled complicated custody battles and will be there to fight for your rights as a parent and to protect your child. If you have any issues with child custody, contact the attorneys at John T Fields and Associates and let them fight for you. John T. Fields & Associates serves Madison, Wisconsin and the surrounding area