Kidnapping and Guns – One Way to Get Custody

The process of divorce can be hard on a family. Allegations may be made. A bitter custody battle may be waged. Emotions may get heated. But for the most part, kidnapping and guns are not part of the process. However, this was not the case for one family.

Four days after a Missouri judge signed an order granting divorce, the mother of a young boy, with the assistance of her new husband, kidnapped her son from her ex-husband’s house at gunpoint. They intend to flee Missouri and cross the border into Mexico with the boy in a stolen vehicle. Because the mother and her husband did not have permission to take the boy from his father’s home, this was considered kidnapping.

Initially, the police were able to track the kidnappers to Oklahoma by tracing their cell phone signal; however, the cell phone batteries were removed and the kidnappers vanished.

Due to a broken headlight, New Mexico police conducted a traffic stop on the kidnappers that resulted in a car chase and shots fired at the police by the kidnappers. Eventually, the kidnappers were forced to take the child by foot through the desert. They were caught with the child in Phoenix and the child was returned safely to his father.

The kidnappers now face 24 felony charges, including attempted murder and kidnapping.

While not many would go to this extreme to deprive their ex-spouse of time with a child or children, there are actions in defiance of a custody or visitation order that have consequences, which can be severe.

A few of the most common violations of custody orders are:

  • The primary custodial parent refuses or denies visitation to the non-custodial parent that was ordered in a custody agreement
  • The non-custodial parent fails or refuses to deliver the child to the primary custodial parent, including after visitation
  • The primary custodial parent moves out-of-state with the child without the permission of the court

Consequences of violating a court order relating to custody or visitation may include:

  • The court holds the offending party in contempt
  • The court changes primary custody to the other parent
  • The court orders support payments withheld, in extreme circumstances
  • The court orders supervised visitation

While most attempts to deprive an ex-spouse of access to a child do not end up with kidnapping and attempted murder charges, it is important to remember that there are consequences, no matter how minor, for violating court-ordered custody or visitation. If your ex-spouse is violating court ordered custody or visitation, speak with an experienced family law attorney.