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The Consequences of Parental Kidnapping 

The Law Offices of Thomas W. Martin, LLC May 10, 2023

Child custody issues are among the family law matters that are often fiercely contested. While the custody dispute or disagreement is ongoing, one of the parents or a family member may deliberately abscond with the child to prevent them from having a relationship with the other parent. Unfortunately, a criminal conviction for parental kidnapping, custodial interference, or child abduction can result in harsh penalties and other devastating consequences. 

At The Law Offices of Thomas W. Martin, LLC, I assist, defend, and represent clients facing parental kidnapping charges. As a strategic Colorado criminal defense attorney, I can analyze your case, craft a solid defense strategy to fight your charges and help dispute the accusations against you with factual evidence. My firm proudly serves clients across Fort Collins, Estes Park, Wellington, Greeley, Windsor, Loveland, and Johnstown, Colorado. 

What is Parental Kidnapping?

Parental kidnapping involves a situation whereby one parent intentionally absconds with their child without the other parent's approval or by violating a child custody order. Often time, the parent who kidnaps their child does so to prevent the child from seeing the other parent or having a relationship with them. 

Pursuant to Colorado parental kidnapping law – Colorado Revised Statute 18-3-304(1) – custodial interference or parental kidnapping occurs when a person takes or entices a child below eighteen years from the care or custody of the child's parents, legal guardian, a lawful custodian, or someone with parental responsibilities with respect to the child – without privilege to do so. 

Examples That Are Viewed as Parental Kidnapping

These are examples that can be considered parental kidnapping: 

  • A parent conceals, detains, or prevents a child from seeing the other parent. 

  • A parent refuses to return a child to the other parent after their parenting time. 

  • A parent absconds with a child during a marriage, paternity, child custody, or divorce proceeding. 

  • A parent violates a custody agreement and elopes with the child. 

  • A parent violates a custody order by taking the child out of state without the other parent's approval or court order. 

  • A family member takes a child to a cabin or secluded area to hide the child from the parents. 

A trusted lawyer can evaluate every aspect of your case and inform you about the nature of your charges. 

Parental Kidnapping is a Felony

Unfortunately, parental kidnapping in the state of Colorado is charged as a Class 4 or Class 5 felony, depending on various factors. The court will consider the following factors to determine the right charge: 

  • The surrounding circumstances of the custody interference or parental kidnapping. 

  • The defendant's criminal history. 

  • Whether the defendant exposed the child to significant danger or risk of bodily injuries. 

  • Whether the defendant intentionally deprived the child's other parent of their right to custody or visitation. 

  • Whether the defendant threatened to inflict or inflicted physical harm on the other parent. 

  • The duration of the parental kidnapping. 

A dedicated Colorado parental kidnapping defense attorney can assess all of the facts of your situation and help identify your possible defenses. 


However, there are certain exceptions to parental kidnapping. According to Colorado law, it shall be an affirmative defense if: 

  • The defendant reasonably believed that their actions were necessary to protect the child from potential harm or danger to their welfare. 

  • The child is older than 14 years, and they were taken away at their own request without persuasion and without any intent to commit a crime against or with the child. 

Possible Penalties

However, parental kidnapping in Colorado often attracts far-reaching punishments. A defendant convicted of this criminal act may face the following penalties and consequences: 

  • Massive fines and court fees. 

  • Lengthy incarceration in state prison. 

  • Probation 

  • Community service 

  • A criminal record/history 

  • Pay restitution to the victim. 

  • Cover the expenses to locate and return the child to the other parent. 

  • Loss of parental privileges, child custody, or visitation rights. 

  • Loss or rights to own or carry a firearm. 

  • A civil protection or restraining order may be issued against you. 

  • Possible deportation or inadmissibility into the United States. 

  • Difficulties in getting certain financial loans. 

  • Damage to familial, personal, and professional relationships. 

  • Increased difficulty in getting housing, job, and educational opportunities. 

A highly-skilled attorney can protect your rights and help you avoid the devastating consequences of a criminal conviction. 

Don't Risk the Future of Your Family  

Defending your parental kidnapping allegations in Colorado without help from an attorney is never advisable. Unfortunately, a criminal conviction could hinder your personal reputation, career, future, and liberty. Therefore, when facing parental kidnapping charges, hiring an aggressive criminal defense attorney is vital for clear direction and to protect your custody rights. 

With over 10 years of broad experience, I have focused my career on handling criminal cases and protecting individuals charged with parental kidnapping from the worst possible punishments. With my knowledge, I can walk you through the Colorado criminal justice system and fight to protect your custody and parental rights. 

Contact me at The Law Offices of Thomas W. Martin, LLC today to arrange a case evaluation with a reliable criminal defense lawyer. I have the aggressive representation and dedicated legal counsel you need in your case. My firm proudly serves clients across Fort Collins, Estes Park, Wellington, Greeley, Windsor, Loveland, and Johnstown, Colorado.