What is the parental kidnapping prevention act in Ohio?

Understanding the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act in Ohio

The Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act (PKPA) is a federal statute that was enacted to address the complex issues arising from parental kidnappings, particularly those that cross state lines. In Ohio, as in other states, the PKPA works in tandem with state laws to provide a comprehensive legal framework designed to prevent and resolve cases of parental abduction.

The PKPA, passed by Congress in 1980, establishes national standards for the assertion of jurisdiction over child custody disputes, including those involving allegations of kidnapping by a parent. Under the Act, full faith and credit must be given to child custody determinations made by state courts that conform with the jurisdictional prerequisites set forth in the Act. This means that once a state court has appropriately established jurisdiction and issued a custody order, other states are required to enforce it and may not modify it except under specific circumstances outlined in the PKPA.

In Ohio, state laws complement the PKPA by providing local law enforcement and courts with the mechanisms necessary to uphold these federal standards. For example, Ohio Revised Code Section 3127.33 gives Ohio courts jurisdiction over child custody matters consistent with the PKPA, thus facilitating interstate cooperation and enforcement of custody orders.

Examples of Parental Kidnapping Prevention

Consider a case where a non-custodial parent takes a child from Ohio to another state without permission from the custodial parent or a court order. Under the PKPA, the child's home state—in this instance, Ohio—retains jurisdiction over the case. Therefore, any custody determination made by an Ohio court must be adhered to by authorities in other states. This framework helps to prevent non-custodial parents from attempting to obtain a more favorable custody ruling by 'forum shopping' in a different state.

Historical References

The need for federal legislation like the PKPA became evident during the latter half of the 20th century as interstate travel became more accessible and common. With families increasingly mobile across state lines, instances of one parent absconding with a child to another state in hopes of obtaining a more sympathetic custody decision became problematic. The PKPA was designed to close this legal loophole and ensure continuity and predictability in child custody arrangements.


The Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act serves as an essential tool in safeguarding children's welfare across state lines by providing clear rules for interstate custody issues. In Ohio, adherence to this federal mandate ensures that children and their custodial parents are protected from unlawful removals or retentions by non-custodial parents seeking to circumvent established custody orders.