I'm having trouble understanding how the parental kidnapping prevention act works.

There is a case where a lawyer coordinated with a family member to file falsified domestic violence (assault) then 14+ days later, take a minor child across state lines during the pandemic lockdown, in order to file for divorce and gain an upper hand in custody.

Is that exactly what this act was meant to prevent?

Why does the PKPA only apply when custody is decided by the court not prior to the decision?

Does it matter if the two parents have a text-message history of agreed child exchange times, etc and a parent quits her job to move out of state with the child?

During filing the divorce petition, one of the parents specifically lied on the dates the child was in the custody of the other parent. We're talking about a 14+ day gap of which the child was in the other parents care. They also had the wrong date of the alleged domestic on filing a petition for relocation and made statements in court that were proven false through text messages evidence.

At what point does perjury become a thing? At what point can you claim that an attorney is deliberately misleading the court?

Where is the due process (or violations of it) for a parent facing false charges in a pending criminal case and being judged as guilty in the family law case?

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    I voted to close because you need to focus on a single question. Right now, you have one question in the title, and a bunch in the description. – mkennedy Jul 23 '20 at 21:43
  • They are relevant. If I don't include them now, I would have asked them later for clarity. The whole point of voting to close is to prevent duplicates, not shut down questions. Don't be toxic. – LawCurious Jul 28 '20 at 19:48
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    Preventing duplicates is not the only reason to vote to close. I find the timeline of your narrative unclear which doesn't help me to understand how the multiple questions are related. You're asking questions about the PKPA, lawyer ethics/perjury, and how does a pending criminal case affect a family court case. I see that they arise from the same situation, but you may get answers if you split them up or focus on one area. – mkennedy Jul 29 '20 at 3:39
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    I would vote to keep open and had an answer ready to go. – ohwilleke Aug 4 '20 at 21:02
  • @ohwilleke Nice job. Can we vote to reopen based on your edits? – Just a guy Aug 4 '20 at 21:45

Why does the PKPA only apply when custody is decided by the court not prior to the decision?

Because that is what the PKPA does. The title given to the PKPA in the US Code says it all: Full faith and credit given to child custody determinations. The PKPA tells state courts when they have to give "full faith and credit" (ie, recognize and apply) to the custody decisions of courts in other states.

The PKPA was meant to prevent a parent who already had a judicial custody order from forum shopping, going to another state hoping to get a better order from its courts.

The situation you describe is pretty much why the PKPA only applies to parents who have judicial order. When the parents don't have a court order, they will have to get one. That means they first have to find a court to take the case. Then, in order to come up with a custody order, that court will have to sort through a bunch of evidence. The court will ask what the parents have already agreed. It certainly could consider those texts. Depending on what the texts say, and what else is going on, the court may even accept the texts, but it does not have to do so. However, by law the court has to consider a bunch of other stuff, such as the "best interests of the child."

In such circumstances, whether there is an informal "agreement" that courts should follow is an open question that some court will have to answer. Under the PKPA, if there is a court order that meets the PKPA tests, the question is no longer open -- the court must implement the existing order. That makes the court's job much easier.

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    The UCCJEA plays a critical role as well. The issues about lawyer/party misconduct are more general and somewhat counterintuitive, but it all presents together. – ohwilleke Aug 4 '20 at 21:03
  • I get that it prevents, "prevent a parent who already had a judicial custody order from forum shopping, going to another state hoping to get a better order from its courts." What I don't understand is why is doesn't prevent a parent from kidnapping the minor child by going across state lines and filing for divorce without said custody order. – LawCurious Aug 8 '20 at 19:37
  • @LawCurious That's a good question. I'm the wrong person to answer it -- it will take a while, and won't be very good. It sounds like ohwilleke may cover it in his answer. If he doesn't, I'd ask him. You'll get a much better answer. – Just a guy Aug 9 '20 at 18:09

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