Kidnapping Laws

Illinois Parental Kidnapping Laws Explained

Children go missing all the time, but not in the way that people may think. Despite how much we teach our children to stay away from strangers, most children are abducted by a parent or another family member. Parental kidnappings can be difficult because both parents often have rights, which is why it’s important to understand Illinois parental kidnapping laws.

What Is Kidnapping?

A person has been kidnaped when they are moved from one place to another and confined against their will. When most people think of kidnappings, they think of a stranger abducting a child. However, there are many different types of kidnappings:

  • Parental kidnapping
  • Acquaintance kidnapping
  • Stranger kidnapping
  • Sexual predator kidnapping
  • Kidnapping for extortion or ransom

It’s important to understand that a child under the age of 13 cannot consent to kidnappings, so a parent is still guilty of kidnapping even if they claim the child said they wanted to go with that parent.

Parental Kidnapping

Parental kidnapping in Illinois can be difficult because both parents have rights to a degree. However, custody plays a big role in determining what a parent can and cannot do and which parent has the right to choose. A parent who has full custody of a child can relocate to another part of the state without worrying about the move being contested in court.

If a parent wants to move to another location in Illinois and they don’t have full custody, the other parent can contest the move on grounds of parental kidnapping. It’s also important to recognize that laws are different when a parent is moving a child out of state vs. when a parent is moving a child within Illinois.

Why Do Parents Kidnap Children?

The thought of a parent kidnapping their child may sound strange, but it happens all the time for various reasons. The most common parental kidnappings are because of a disagreement with a custody order from an Illinois court. One parent often feels like they got the bad end of the custody deal, which can lead to them feeling like they don’t get to see their child enough.

Parents may also kidnap a child if they fear the other parent might cause harm to the child, whether that be emotional or physical harm. In many cases, these accusations aren’t actually true and are used to damage the reputation of the parent who has custody of the child.

Sometimes, a parent kidnaps a child simply to get revenge against the other parent. The legal battles that come with custody and the emotional toll that comes with a divorce can lead to a lot of turmoil, which sometimes results in parents taking extreme measures to exact revenge on each other.

Illinois Child Removal Laws

Before 2016, the Illinois child removal laws stated that a parent who has primary physical custody of a child can freely move that child anywhere in the state of Illinois without seeking approval from a court or the other parent. Under these laws, out-of-state moves still require permission from either the other parent or court. Even if the other parent contests the move, a court may still overrule that contest and decide that the move should be allowed.

2016 Law Changes

In 2016, Illinois made changes to the way its child removal laws work. While the basic principles of the law are the same, there are specific rules regarding how far a parent can move their child based on where they’re located in the state of Illinois.

For parents who live in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will Counties can move their child to a new home in Illinois as long as that home is no more than 25 miles away from the previous location. For parents who don’t live in these counties, a child can be relocated up to 50 miles from their previous home in the state of Illinois. If you live near the border of Illinois, you are permitted to move your child to another state as long as your new home is no more than 25 miles from your previous home.

What to Do After Illinois Parental Kidnapping

If a child is abducted, the most important thing you can do is contact law enforcement agencies and notify them. Providing any information about possible kidnapers is important, and you will also need to provide a recent photo of your child for identification purposes. If you don’t have a photo, you can usually get a copy of your child’s class photo from the school they attend.

You should also reach out to The Committee for Missing Children, Inc. if your child has gone missing. We can connect you with resources that make it easier to recover a missing child in Illinois.

Abuse and Protective Orders

If you or your child is a victim of abuse from your spouse, it’s important to contact law enforcement and get the help you need before things escalate. Domestic violence situations often result in parental kidnappings at some point, so it’s best to get a protective order and work with law enforcement if you or your child is being abused.

Get Help Today

When your child goes missing, there are a lot of things that can run through your mind. Parental kidnappings happen all the time, which is why it’s a good idea to have a basic understanding of Illinois parental kidnapping laws and what you need to do if your child is kidnaped. If you need help with a parental kidnapping incident, contact The Committee for Missing Children, Inc. today.

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