A child who is in the legal custody of only one of his or her parents (the parents being legally separated) may be kidnapped by the parent without custody and, in some cases, taken outside the country and thus outside the scope of the law. This violates not only the legal rights of the parent with custody but also the basic rights of the child.
Research indicates that parental kidnapping causes emotional and psycological damage to children. It is considered child abuse in some countries. The incidence of parental abduction is contributed to the ease of world wide travel and mixed cultural marriages. When these marriages fail, each parent wants the child to be raised in their country of origin.