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Parental Kidnapping - Can the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act and Federal Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act of 1980 Effectively Deter It?

NCJ Number
Duquesne Law Review Volume: 20 Dated: (1981) Pages: 43-70
R M Frani
Date Published
28 pages
The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act and the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act of 1980 together have the potential for providing an effective deterrent to parental kidnapping.
The 'clean hands' provision of section 8 of the Uniform Act, as interpreted in Pennsylvania, provides a powerful disincentive for any parent contemplating both a child snatching and ultimately a petition for legal custody. Section 8 provides guidelines for a court to determine whether it should entertain a petition for custody by a parent who has abducted a child from his/her custodial household without the consent of the custodial parent. The Federal Act requires that full faith and credit be given to the child custody determinations of sister States and provides for Federal assistance to legal custodians unable to locate the kidnapped children. This act provides a disincentive for the parent who would attempt to conceal his/her whereabouts so as to retain de facto custody of his/her children after a child snatching. If the legislation works as intended, the parent with the custody decree will have Federal assistance in locating the abductor and then will be able to enforce the custody decree in any State where the children can be found. Additionally, the lawful custodian will not be required to prove again superior fitness as a parent to regain custody, absent a significant change in circumstances after the decree was issued and before the abduction. A total of 154 footnotes are provided.