Family Law Attorney in Utah
Parental Kidnapping Specialized Representation Tailored to Your Goals

Parental Kidnapping Attorneys in Salt Lake County

We Act Fast to Protect Your Child & Your Rights

At Eric M. Swinyard & Associates, PLLC in Draper, we understand the tragedy of parental kidnapping. We know how desperate you are to get your child back safely and how urgent the case is. Our Salt Lake County parental kidnapping attorneys are experienced, compassionate, knowledgeable, and resourceful. Our team is eager to serve you in your time of need.

Contact us at (801) 515-4133 today so we can begin helping you get your children back.

Understanding Child Custody & Parental Kidnapping Laws

Child custody matters are emotional and trying times for parents, but nothing is more emotional than when one parent kidnaps or abducts a child. Parental kidnapping or parental abduction of a child occurs more than you may think, and child abduction laws in Utah are more complex than you may think, too.

At Eric M. Swinyard & Associates, PLLC, we understand the complexity and nuances of the parental child abduction laws and can help you through this process until your child is home safe with you. This means explaining how to file parental kidnapping charges among other things.

Defining Parental Kidnapping

Parental kidnapping, also known as parental child abduction, according to Utah Department of Public Safety and in spite of child custody rights or a custody agreement, involves one parent or a family member taking, retaining, and/or concealing a child.

This is custodial interference, which is a class A misdemeanor in Utah unless the child is taken across Utah state lines, in which case it is a felony in the third degree. Custodial interference is an offense defined by Utah Code Ann. § 76-5-303.

Taking Your Own Child in Utah: When Is it Considered Kidnapping by a Parent?

According to Utah’s code on custodial interference, kidnapping by a parent occurs when a person “takes, entices, conceals, or detains a child” without good cause from his or her “parent, guardian, or other lawful custody.”

The child must be under the age of 16 and the alleged kidnapper must:

  • Know he or she has no right to take the child; and
  • Intend “to hold the child for a period substantially longer then [sic] the visitation or custody period previously awarded by a court of competent jurisdiction.”

In other words, a parent can be found guilty of kidnapping (or custodial interference) when he or she knowingly takes a child under the age of 16 for a longer period of time than what a custody agreement permits.

Consequences of Parental Kidnapping

For the innocent parent praying for the safe return of his or her child, the consequences are dire and real with the fear you will never see your child again. For the guilty parent who kidnapped the child, the consequences are just as real and manifold.

Parental kidnapping is typically a misdemeanor, but it can be charged as a felony. As a Class A misdemeanor, a conviction of the same can lead to 365 days in jail, a fine of up to $4,750, plus surcharges.

Taking a child out of state without a custody agreement is a felony in the third degree, which — if convicted — carries a prison sentence of up to five years, fines of up to $5,000, and an additional 90% surcharge.

In addition to a criminal sentence, a parental kidnapping conviction can mean the complete loss of child custody or visitation rights. The court may also order the parent to pay restitution for any personal injury damages.

Can a Parent Legally Keep a Child from the Other Parent in Utah?

Generally, the answer would be no so long as there is a custody order or agreement in place. If there is no custody order or if your child is under your control and custody, then you can keep the child from the other parent. If there is a custody order, then you must show good cause for keeping the child from the other parent when he or she is legally allowed custody of the child, but you may still suffer consequences of violating the terms of the custody order or agreement.

When to Seek the Help of an Attorney

You should seek assistance from an experienced attorney long before the non-custodial parent refuses to return your child or long before custody issues arise and you experience parental kidnapping without a custody order.

Child custody laws for unmarried parents exist for a reason: your child’s protection. These laws are designed with your child’s best interests in mind. Our experienced Salt Lake County parental kidnapping attorneys can outline and explain these laws for you

Contact Eric M. Swinyard & Associates, PLLC Today

Parental child abduction is serious. Children are not always safe simply because they are with a parent or family member. Without good cause, a child’s kidnapping by a parent is alarming and potentially dangerous.

You deserve to have an experienced and compassionate attorney by your side during this difficult time. At Eric M. Swinyard & Associates, PLLC, we provide affordable, high-quality legal services to parents throughout the region.

Protect your children and your rights – call us at (801) 515-4133 today for a free consultation.

Testimonials

Real Clients. Real Results. 
  • Amy Lee

    He is very prompt with his responses to emails and phone calls which makes the process less stressful.

  • Dalisa

    This was all so stress free. I’m extremely great full for Preston and his staff for putting forth all the time to help me out!

  • Bart

    Highly recommend Eric and Preston without reservation. Their fees are more than reasonable and their service more than expected.

  • Nicolle G.

    I have had an absolutely positive experience through and through with them. They’re professional, empathetic, and ethical. I wish ...

  • Thomas M.

    He handled all matters promptly and thoroughly. He cares deeply about his clients and makes sure their needs are fully understood.

  • Bethany

    He and his office were conscientious about my financial needs and made sure I knew when charges were going to be made, so it ...

  • Logan

    I couldn’t be more pleased with the results and would definitely recommend Eric to anyone looking for a fantastic lawyer and a ...

  • Jared H.

    All issues were handled in a very timely and transparent manner.

  • Sean K.

    Working with Eric was a breeze. He addressed my concerns and laid out several options that were unique to my situation.

  • Robin S.

    If it wasn't for Eric and Preston, I wouldn't have gotten custody of my 2 children.

Meet Our Team

Professional. Confident. Approachable.
  • Eric M. Swinyard Photo
    Eric M. Swinyard

    Founding Attorney

    Eric M. Swinyard is a litigation and small business attorney who serves clients throughout Utah and across the country. He has offices in both Salt Lake County and Utah County. Eric’s practice is focused on providing personalized, high-quality legal services to both individuals and businesses. He regularly assists clients in various practice areas , including divorce , parentage ( paternity ), adoption , debt collection, estate planning , business advice, asset protection, litigation (civil, ...
  • Ryan  Ficklin Photo
    Ryan Ficklin

    Attorney

    Ryan Ficklin is an associate attorney at Eric M. Swinyard & Associates, PLLC. Prior to practicing law in Utah, Ryan practiced family law in Southern California. In 2017, Ryan relocated back to his home state of Utah to focus on serving the people of Utah who need legal representation, particularly in the family law realm. Ryan graduated with honors from California’s Whittier Law School in May of 2015. While in law school, Ryan was a staff member for The Journal of Child and Family Advocacy. Ryan ...
  • Preston  Day Photo
    Preston Day

    Attorney

    Preston Day is an associate attorney at Eric M. Swinyard & Associates, PLLC. Before assuming his position as an associate attorney, Preston spent over two years working as a prosecuting attorney for Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County. During his time as a prosecutor, he managed several hundred cases and took over 100 cases to trial. In his current role, Preston manages primarily divorce , family , and criminal cases . Preston began his legal career working as a law clerk for Judge Richard ...
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