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  • Writer's pictureSteffani Langston

What To Know About the Maryland Child Abduction Prevention Act

Effective October 1, 2023, Maryland has new laws related to child abduction prevention. The law is called the Maryland Child Abduction Prevention Act, and the purpose of the Maryland Child Abduction Prevention Act is to prevent child abduction.

What is “abduction”? While although many people assume “abduction” means crossing state lines, or taking a child to a different country, “abduction” under the new laws is broadly defined as “the wrongful removal or retention of a child.” Thus, there is no geographical requirement for the removal to be considered “abduction.”

The purpose of the Maryland Child Abduction Prevention Act is to prevent one custodial parent from wrongfully removing or retaining a child from the other parent. Although there were other ways to enforce custody court orders in the past, with the passing of the Maryland Child Abduction Prevention Act, there is no requirement that there be an already existing court order.

The purpose of the Maryland Child Abduction Prevention Act is also to be preventative in nature, and not reactionary. The goal is to prevent a child from being abducted in the first place. Pursuant to the Maryland Child Abduction Prevention Act, the court will take into consideration a variety of factors that could be considered abduction risk factors. Is it not an exhaustive checklist, but rather a variety of factors the court will consider in determining if there is a risk of abduction. Some of the risk factors include a parent abandoning employment, selling a primary residence or terminating a lease, obtaining a passport for the child, or using multiple names to mislead or defraud in the past.

If a court determines there is a credible risk of abduction, the court can order abduction prevention measures in any future court order. The court also has the authority to issue a warrant for the return of the child, which would allow law enforcement in this or any other state to assist in the return of the child.

In any case involving child abduction, or the threat thereof, as well as cross-jurisdictional matters, it is always advised to speak to an attorney.

If you have any questions about the new Maryland Child Abduction Prevention Act, please contact us at or 410-842-1070. The legal team at Wasserman Family Law is here to help guide and advocate for you.

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Disclaimer: Opinions and conclusions in these blog posts are solely those of the author unless otherwise indicated. The information contained in this blog is general in nature and is not offered and cannot be considered as legal advice for any particular situation. For legal advice, you should directly consult a lawyer to discuss the specific facts of your matter.

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