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What is Parental Kidnapping?

Parental kidnapping in Nevada is a crime that takes the minor child, by force or trickery, from their lawful custodian after the instigator has obtained custody of the child.

Parental kidnapping happens when one parent takes their children to a place where they cannot be found, refuses to disclose any information about their whereabouts, and denies the other parent contact with the children.

If you are a parent in Nevada, you must know about parental kidnapping. Parental kidnapping is the unlawful removal or retention of a child by one of its parents to deprive the other parent of access to the child. Judges decide what constitutes “access,” as the law does not explain.

People often underestimate the frequency of parental kidnappings, and many cases remain unreported as they settle outside of court hearings. Both parents must understand their rights to avoid being victimized by someone who should have no contact with them.

Can Parents Kidnap Their Own Child?

People often ask this question this time of year.

Summer visitation often leads to parental kidnapping in Nevada, especially when parents living out of state are involved. For some parents, this time leads to anxiety and concern over whether the other parent will return the child at the end of summer.

Suppose one parent refuses to return the child after they’ve been overseas. In that case, you might be in a kidnapping situation. Nevada law states that kidnapping occurs when someone willfully seizes, confines, conceals, or detains another person.

In this blog post, we discuss how parental kidnapping is an issue in Nevada and offer some tips for parents going through a divorce.

Parental Kidnapping Laws in Nevada

People often wonder about the law on parental kidnapping in Nevada because it can be confusing and frightening. It can be frightening when you don’t know that Nevada has adopted a law about parental kidnapping.

Under Nevada law,NRS 200.359, parental kidnapping is intentionally detaining a child from someone who has lawful custody over the child. After the divorce, the court will grant each parent legal custody of the child. A court order or decree typically details the legal custody granted to each parent, outlining their rights and responsibilities for the care and provision of their child’s needs.

The divorce decree outlines a legal custody arrangement in writing and the frequency and duration of visits. Parents must acquire custody rights by reading their custody decree or divorce decree.

What if you are not divorced, and your child’s custody order is not legally defined? According to the law, parents in Nevada have “joint legal custody” and “joint physical custody of a child” until a court issues another order. In joint custody, both parents have equal parental rights and lawful custody of the child.

Kidnapping your child can result in prosecution for a D felony. This criminal conviction could end custody of and visitation with your children in divorce proceedings.

Parental Kidnapping in Nevada

Custody of Children During Divorce

When you file a custody dispute with a Nevada court, parental kidnapping may complicate your case.

judge can deem an action inappropriate with or without evidence of a kidnapping. If you are due to get a contested divorce or in the middle of a custody case, the court will expect you to behave in ways that ensure your child’s safety and best interests.

Here are some dos and don’ts to remember when a custody case is pending:


  • To avoid being abducted by a parent, check for court orders and changes before making plans. Document your efforts to ensure you comply with the court orders.
  • Before taking children across state lines, obtain a written agreement from the other parent to avoid a parental abduction charge.
  • If you anticipate a long-term trip with your child, try to arrange for visits between the child and the other parents.


  • Don’t move with the child permanently out of the state unless there is a severe and life-threatening emergency. Prepare to talk about this emergency with a judge.
  • A judge will likely question why you want to prevent the other parent from seeing their child.
  • Please don’t give the judge any reason to believe you want to keep your ex from being in contact with their child.

Ensure you obtain the appropriate documentation and legal paperwork to take your child out of state. Obtain in writing the other parent’s permission before taking your child absent. Consult with your  divorce lawyer .

What to Do If the Parent Refuses to Return the Child?

If the other parent refuses to return your child, you have a limited window to file papers with the court.

The court is authorized to hold a hearing, during which it will determine if the other parent has broken any Nevada divorce laws that may have harmed the child or interfered with the legal custodial rights of one parent.

A judge will decide the best course of action and who to award temporary custody over. This document is now the go-to for families to determine what happens when, who has custody of the child, and who can decide on their behalf.

Do the police enforce custody orders?

The civil court system manages child custody in Nevada. The police in Nevada usually get involved only in two situations: if there is an immediate danger to the child or if the other parent has taken the child out of the state.

Contempt of Family Court

If filing motions to comply with the court order has become a pattern, then contempt of court is the next step.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions.

Q. What are the penalties for parental kidnapping in Nevada?

Kidnapping a child in Nevada can lead to severe legal repercussions, including fines, restraining orders, and imprisonment. The seriousness of the penalties is influenced by factors like the duration of the abduction and its impact on the child. To prevent the violation of Nevada laws, individuals should be well-informed about and comply with state laws. Seeking advice from legal experts is crucial for understanding the specific implications of parental kidnapping in Nevada, as it involves issues such as consent, fines, abuse, and jurisdiction. Courts may take swift action, and violating laws can result in imprisonment. It’s in everyone’s interest to stay informed and take appropriate actions to prevent harm to the child.

Q. How can one prevent parental kidnapping?

Preventing parental kidnapping involves proactive measures and legal awareness. Firstly, maintaining open communication and a cooperative relationship with the other parent can help prevent disputes that may lead to such actions. Establishing clear and formal custody agreements with the assistance of legal professionals is crucial. Additionally, being vigilant about potential signs of conflict, seeking divorce mediation when needed, and staying informed about the laws and jurisdiction related to custody matters contribute to prevention. Swift action, such as reporting concerns to authorities and obtaining legal assistance, addresses emerging issues and ensures the child’s safety.

Q. How can I report a case of parental kidnapping in Nevada?

If you suspect parental kidnapping in Nevada, take immediate and specific actions. Contact local law enforcement with crucial details like the child’s name and the suspected abductor’s information. Simultaneously, report the situation to the Nevada Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS). Ensure you have relevant documentation, such as court orders or custody agreements, ready for authorities. Finding a Divorce Attorney In Las Vegas, like Donn W. Prokopius, Chtd., can help you guide you through the legal intricacies, facilitating a prompt and appropriate response to the parental kidnapping report. This collaborative approach involving law enforcement, child services, and legal counsel is vital for addressing the situation effectively.

Q. Can a noncustodial parent be charged with parental kidnapping in Nevada?

Yes, under specific circumstances, a noncustodial parent in Nevada may face parental kidnapping charges. This occurs when the noncustodial parent takes the child without the custodial parent’s consent or breaches established custody agreements. The severity of charges hinges on factors like the duration of the abduction and potential harm to the child. Law enforcement and the custodial parent may take legal actions, pursuing charges and penalties to address the situation and safeguard the child. Comprehending and complying with custody laws is imperative to sidestep legal consequences.

Q. How long do parental kidnapping cases usually take to resolve in Nevada courts?

The duration of parental kidnapping cases in Nevada courts is subject to significant variability, influenced by factors like case intricacy, legal procedures, and unique circumstances. Resolutions may occur swiftly through mediation or negotiation, but some cases endure for months or even years, particularly those entangled in prolonged legal disputes. The expeditious conclusion of a case often hinges on the collaboration of the parties involved, the effectiveness of legal proceedings, and the intricacies of the specific situation. Seeking counsel, following court procedures diligently, and fostering cooperation can enhance the likelihood of a smoother and potentially expedited resolution.

Get Expert Legal Guidance!

Parental kidnapping, also known as child abduction, is a deeply concerning issue in Nevada that not only causes emotional and psychological distress to the child but also leaves families to endure the heartbreak of searching for their missing loved ones. In order to address the distress and heartbreak caused by parental kidnapping in Nevada, it is crucial to focus on prevention strategies that can help safeguard children and provide support to families.

Many parents in Nevada may lack awareness of the laws surrounding Parental Kidnapping. It’s crucial for them to search and comprehend their legal rights in such situations. Seeking guidance from experienced professionals like Las Vegas Divorce Attorneys, Donn W. Prokopius, Chtd., can provide valuable insights and assistance in navigating these complex legal matters.

Contact our Las Vegas Child Custody Lawyer and Divorce Attorney at (702) 474-0500 to schedule your free consultation.

For more information on how can help you with Parental Kidnapping, please contact us at (702) 474-0500, or visit us here:

Donn W. Prokopius, Chtd.

6655 West Sahara avenue
Suite D220 (Building D)
Las Vegas, NV 89146

(702) 474-0500

Parental Kidnapping Attorney Las Vegas