Asked in Criminal Law, Divorce, Family Law and Child Custody for Puerto Rico

Q: In Puerto Rico, is it considered kidnapping if a married spouse refuses to return to the island with their child?

Address Loiza, PR. I am married & when traveling back to Florida, I chose to leave my husband, he new of the trip to visit my adult son & he purchased our tickets. Due to years of emotional abuse & an irreconcilable relationship. I have our 9yr old daughter with me, she is homeschooled so we are continuing her schooling. Is it considered kidnapping if I stay in Florida & file for a divorce? I have lived in PR for only 7 months.

1 Lawyer Answer
Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • San Juan, PR
  • Licensed in Puerto Rico

A: Under normal circumstances, the illegal deprivation of custody is considered a misdemeanor (Article 121 of the Puerto Rico Penal Code); and occurs when a parent is denied the custody of a child. However, it is considered a felony with a fixed jail term of eight (8) years when the minor is transported outside of the jurisdiction of Puerto Rico and the parent with custody of the child refuses to return the child when the time comes to return.

Having lived in Puerto Rico for less than a year -and I'm assuming that the state of Florida was your previous residence- may mean that the child still falls under the jurisdiction of the state of Florida. In that case, you should immediately retain the services of an attorney duly authorized to practice law in Florida and procure a protection order to keep your child against being extradited back to Puerto Rico while the divorce, custody, and child support proceedings are underway.

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