Southern California Family Law Blog

parental kidnapping

Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act

The Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act (the Act) aims to deter parents from kidnapping their children by ensuring that other states honor child custody and child support orders issued in one state. The Act was designed to promote the best interest of the child and to have a quick way to remove any conflicts of law between states.

The Importance of the Act: First in time, First in Right

The Act requires that other states honor the sister state’s child custody decrees as long as it meets the provisions of the Act. The Act allows the enforcing state to enter a custody decree as long as that state had jurisdiction under its own local law and meets one of the following conditions:

  • The child’s home is or recently has been in the state
  • The child has no home state and it would be in the child’s best interest for the State to assume jurisdiction or
  • The child is present in the state and has been abandoned or abused

Once a state enters a child custody decree consistent with the provision of the Act, another state is precluded from doing the same.1 Additionally, the enforcement of the state decree under the Act will continue as long as the parent or the child remains in that state.

However, despite its procedural advantages, the Act still gives priority to the “home state.” The home state is defined as the state in which the child has lived for six consecutive months prior to a petition being filed. The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act also prioritizes the “home state” even if the child has since left home. However, laws such as these lack kidnapping prevention measures like many state laws.

Abduction Prevention

Unfortunately, many instances of kidnapping happen before either parent has an opportunity to file for child custody. The Act is premised on the general principal that preventing child abduction is always in the best interest of a child, despite a kidnapping parent’s motives. The chances of child abductions are increased when child custody orders lack specific child custody and visitation arrangements. The Act attempts to prevent this by identifying increased risk factors, including:

  • Previous attempts to abduct the child
  • Threats to abduct the child
  • Abandoning employment
  • Selling a primary residence
  • Terminating a lease
  • Closing bank or other financial management accounts
  • Liquidating assets, hiding or destroying financial documents, or conducting any other unusual financial activity
  • Applying for a passport or visa, or obtaining travel documents2

For international abductions, countries that have adopted the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction will facilitate the safe return of the child.

Call the Child Custody Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich

If you are facing a child custody case, you need to speak to an experienced child custody attorney at Wallin & Klarich right away. Our firm can represent and advise you to help you argue for or keep custody of your children. Our attorneys have been successfully representing our clients in child custody cases for over 30 years.

We have offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville. We are able to help you no matter where you work or live.

Call us today at (888) 749-7428 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.


1. Thompson v. Thompson (1988) 484 U.S. 174, 176-77 [108 S.Ct. 513, 515, 98 L.Ed.2d 512]

2. 28 U.S.C.A. § 1738A (West)

The 3 Best Tips to Help You Prepare for a Child Custody Hearing

Best tips for preparing for your child custody hearing
If you are facing a child custody hearing, you may be unsure of how to prepare so that you have the best chance of achieving a favorable result. The first thing you need to do is contact an experienced child custody attorney. Your attorney will provide you with the steps that you need to take to show to the cour… Continue Reading.......

My Child’s Other Parent Violated a Child Custody Order. What Can I Do?

Has your former spouse violated his or her child custody agreement?
According to your court order, your child was scheduled to spend the holidays with you this year, so you planned a big celebration. However, your child’s other parent failed to comply and took the child out of town to visit family during your planned celebration. What can you do next to en… Continue Reading.......

Think You Know What Leads to Divorce? Penn State Study Reveals Common Reasons for Divorce

Think this couple is heading for divorce? Find out what common reasons why marriages end in the US.
A 17-year study conducted between 1980 and 1997 by Pennsylvania State University researchers Denise Preveti and Paul Amato revealed the main reasons why people get divorced. Surprisingly, finances aren’t on the list. The top five reasons for divorce are:… Continue Reading.......

College Student Sues Divorced Parents over College Tuition and Wins

Caitlyn Ricci sues her parents for not paying her college tuition and wins
Recently, a county court in Camden County, New Jersey ordered the divorced parents of 21-year-old Caitlyn Ricci, a college student, to pay her tuition at Temple University.1 The rule is in accordance with the law of New Jersey. In 1982, the New Jersey Supreme Court held in the landmark… Continue Reading.......

Thinking About Hiding Assets in Your Divorce? Think Again!

Going through a divorce can be very difficult. You may be frightened that you will lose your property or go broke after a divorce. This may cause you to lie or hide assets from your spouse. However, doing so could lead to these serious consequences.

Hiding Assets is More Common Than You May Think

Hiding assets can lead to serious consequences
California is a com… Continue Reading.......

Can Your Spousal Support Obligations Be Reduced if Your Ex Moves in with a Significant Other?

Is your ex taking advantage of your spousal support payments?
Many people believe that once a spousal support order is made by the court, it cannot be changed. In some situations this may not be the case. For example, what if your ex-spouse moves in with a current significant other? Can you use this fact to reduce your spousal obligations?

Cohabitation Can Red

Continue Reading.......

5 Reasons Why You Can Ask to Have Your Spousal Support Payments Reduced or Eliminated

Are you paying too much in spousal support?
If you have a court order requiring you to pay spousal support to your former spouse, you may be able to have such payments reduced or eliminated. The first thing you need to do is look at the existing spousal support court order. Bring your court order to an experienced spousal support attorney who can explain to you wh… Continue Reading.......

Halle Berry Seeking Child Support Modification

Halle Berry child support issues
Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry is reportedly trying to reduce her monthly child support payments to Gabriel Aubry, with whom she shares joint custody of their only child. Media sources report that the actress is currently paying $16,000 a month in child support to Aubry.1

Few Gigs for Aubry

Berry filed documents with th… Continue Reading.......