WomensLaw is not just for women. We serve and support all survivors, no matter their sex or gender.

Legal Information: Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Parental Kidnapping

Laws current as of
March 4, 2019

This page includes information specific to Pennsylvania about parental kidnapping, also called custodial interference. There is also a page with general parental kidnapping information that you may find helpful. Custody and kidnapping are particularly complicated issues and it is important to try to find an experienced lawyer to help you with your case.

What can I do if the other parent takes or threatens to take my child out of Pennsylvania without my permission?

If you fear that the child would be subjected to or threatened with mistreatment or abuse if removed from the state, you may be able to file an emergency petition for physical custody of the child.1  For more information, see Can I get emergency custody?

Another option for those who already have a custody order but fear that the child is immediately likely to be removed from the state by the other parent in violation of that order is to file for enforcement of the custody order and ask the judge to issue a warrant for you to take physical custody of the child.2

You could also file a petition for contempt based on the violation of the court custody order.  By filing for contempt, you are asking the judge to:

  • rule that the other parent violated the order;
  • force the other parent to comply with the order;
  • possibly change the order based on the violation; and/or
  • punish the other parent.

1 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 5424(a)
2 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 5451(a)-(b)