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MonaLeigh
04-18-2010, 10:55 PM
If a biological father takes his one year old daughter and she isn't found for a year or so (she's not hurt in any way), what happens to the father if the mother presses charges? What type of jail-time would he get? Would the mother have to have had a court order originally stating she has custody for him to have more jail time?

I'm looking to have this father be in prison for a long time. So long, his daughter has always believed he's dead until it comes out that he's in jail. I just need to know if it's possible.

Thanks:)

jclarkdawe
04-18-2010, 11:07 PM
It's so nice when people tell us what the plot needs.

Have dad have a history of domestic violence and restraining orders against mom. Make it worse by having him have had a relationship with another woman before where he went to prison for a few years for domestic assault. And then have him not able to behave in prison, so that he doesn't get any good time.

That should be good for fifteen to twenty years. And if you want him to be a nice guy, have him discover God in the last few years of him being in prison. Wouldn't make him nice, but it's about the best you can do with someone who is in prison for a long time.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

alleycat
04-18-2010, 11:08 PM
If you want him to spend more time in jail than might normally be given under the circumstance, have him break the law in some other way, or do something that endangers the child. For example only, the police try to stop him for having a taillight out, he thinks they are after him for taking the child, he gets involved in a high-speed car chase, maybe even hitting a police car. Now, that ups the charges substantially.

shaldna
04-19-2010, 12:12 AM
I hate to burst a bubble here, but unless the bio father has been forbidden by courts from having anything to do with his daughter then he won't face jack shit.

And that's the sad truth of it.

Legally, because he is her father and, assuming that he has joint custody of her, then there is no difference between him taking her away and the mother taking her away.

The courts are very reluctant to do anything about these things, and in most cases the police have a limited power because the child is with a parent.

Perhaps the law is different in the states, but that's how it is here.

leahzero
04-19-2010, 02:12 AM
I hate to burst a bubble here, but unless the bio father has been forbidden by courts from having anything to do with his daughter then he won't face jack shit.

And that's the sad truth of it.

Legally, because he is her father and, assuming that he has joint custody of her, then there is no difference between him taking her away and the mother taking her away.

The courts are very reluctant to do anything about these things, and in most cases the police have a limited power because the child is with a parent.

Perhaps the law is different in the states, but that's how it is here.

That's not true at all in Illinois, and I suspect most other states as well. I know from firsthand experience as a kid who was removed from the country by my biological father (who was still married to my mom at the time).

The court came down HARD on him. My mother was able to easily get a divorce and full custody. She could have pressed further charges, but declined.

Aztecsince79
04-19-2010, 06:48 AM
Alleycat has the best idea with the child endangerment. A basic child custody dispute sort of thing won't get you as far as you want. I assume you don't want the girl to see her dad again until she's in her teens.

He could be found with her in a drug house, he could finally be caught and jailed after a high-speed chase, or he assaults the mother in front of her. Kid is found in an alley while dad's inside a bar drinking. Something along those lines.

Also, at least in Calif., any sentence over a year means state prison, not jail.

I'm assuming some things here, but if you want to make dad a sympathetic character, the endangerment factor should be something he does that is stupid and not mean. Anything that gets you more than a few years will be mean and violent. Have him sentenced to the max by an idiot judge and he'll get some reader sympathy. Then he can be paroled to a town away from where the kid lives, and he returns to her life several years later when he works himself up to it.

Good luck.

Smish
04-19-2010, 06:55 AM
Varies from state to state. You'll have to do research regarding the specific state. And you'll have to look into both criminal law and family law to find the answers you're looking for.

Horseshoes
04-19-2010, 07:24 AM
Start with where your story is set. A US state?
If so, which one?
Next, in that year he had the kid, did he cross the state line?

Given that you want him to go away, choose for the original setting one of the states that draw a big fat line in the law when the abducting parent crosses a state line...that line is what bumps the crime from a misdemeanor to a felony in the right states.

shaldna
04-19-2010, 11:53 AM
As stated, it depends where the story is set. I don't know US laws, BUT I suspect that other factors will be taken into consideration, such as any priors, any mental issues, history of violence or criminal behavior etc.

For instance, if a well adjusted, sweet natured family man takes his kid to the park for the day and just never comes back, that would be treated differently to someone who was in and out of jail, had a rocky relationshop with his wife and had made threats to kidnap the kid in the past.

Remember as well that there is a lot of legisation around these issues, and it's never a cut and dry case. The courts will also look at the mothers history and the reasons the father may have taken the child.

If he was truly well meaning and really thought that the child was in danger with the mother or something and he could prove his concerns were legit, then he probably won't face any charges.

MarkEsq
04-19-2010, 05:16 PM
In some states, the use of a deadly weapon will "aggravate" the charge. In Texas, that means that someone guilty of any offense that includes a DW finding will have to serve at least half his sentence, as opposed to one quarter. That could stretch out his time, and remember that pretty much ANYthing can be a deadly weapon - his car in this example, maybe.

shadowwalker
04-19-2010, 05:35 PM
This was updated October 2008 (and I doubt there have been any significant changes since then)

http://www.ndaa.org/pdf/parental_kidnapping.pdf

Not exactly light reading but... ;)

RJK
04-21-2010, 07:38 PM
In New York, if the child is a relative, and the person taking the child has no legal right to take the child, does, it's only a misdemeanor.