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Legal Information: Pennsylvania

Parental Kidnapping

December 15, 2023

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)