Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act

Our Portland Family Lawyer Explains the PKPA and Child Custody

Photo of a baby in a stroller
The only way to change the final court judgment of a family law matter, such as child custody agreements or parenting time plans, is to seek a modification of the order in a court of law. However, some parents who are unhappy with the final custody agreements may attempt to take the law into their own hands by moving states with the child. If a parent disobeys either a temporary or final child custody order by moving a child out of state, he or she may face serious civil and criminal penalties. In 1980, the federal government established the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act, or PKPA, to prevent parental abductions.

If you are unhappy with your current child custody agreement, our Portland family attorney can work with you to pursue a modification that will better fit the best interests of you and your child. Violating the PKPA is a serious offense, and can carry with it potential criminal felony charges, in addition to other civil penalties. Protect your rights and speak with Ronald Johnston for more information.

How Does the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act Work?

Since the enactment of the PKPA, the law considers any movement between states to retain custody, obtain another custody order or to take away access to a child to be a federal crime. Government agents, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), now have the ability to aid both state and local authorities in any attempts of locating a child taken under these circumstances.

Also outlined in PKPA is the concept of priority jurisdiction. Priority jurisdiction describes the precedence given to any child custody orders that originated from the first court, or the home state of the child, which ruled on the matter. Any other state court must give full faith and credit to the decisions of the first court, meaning that other state courts cannot modify any existing child custody decrees without complying with PKPA.

Our Portland Family Attorney Upholds the Legal Rights You Have to Your Child

Throughout his 37 years of practicing law, our Portland family attorney Ronald Allen Johnston has gained a wealth of experience representing both mothers and fathers in all complexities of child custody agreements. We caution that you should never try to take the law into your own hands to avoid custody by moving states with your child, but that an experienced attorney may be able to make the law work for you. To schedule a pre-divorce consultation to discuss your custody issues, contact our Portland family lawyer today. You can also read our guide on how to avoid the most common mistakes in child custody matters.

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