The issue of child custody can be very contentious in a divorce proceeding, and animosity that grows out of this can continue long after the divorce is final. Ill feelings make for difficulty in transferring children for visitation purposes. However, should the non-custodial parent take the matter to the point of interference with custody, this is a very serious matter for which you need to work with a Conroe family law attorney.
The Legal Ramifications of Custodial Interference
Texas law (Penal Code Section 25.03) establishes that it is against the law for a parent who does not have custody of a child to interfere with custody. A person who causes such interference can both be charged with a felony crime and sued in civil court, as a Conroe family law attorney will tell you.
Custodial interference is actually a rather complicated matter. Not every situation in which an act is alleged is it clear whether an intention exists to interfere with custody/keep the child from the custodial parent. Basic forms of interference, however, include:
- Removing the child from the geographic area without approval
- Taking the child without express agreement from the custodial parent
- Keeping the child from returning
- Not returning the child at the time designated
- Enticing the child from the custodial home, or from some other location, such as the child's school
Penalties for Custodial Interference
A willful failure to return a child to its custodial parent or guardian is, as mentioned previously, a felony under state law. The parent may be charged in criminal court, and with a conviction face jail or prison time. He may also lose rights to visitation.
A Conroe family law attorney can work with the custodial parent on the civil aspect of the matter. The non-custodial parent would be taken to civil court and sued for damages, including cost of legal fees for getting the children back, and pain and suffering. It should be kept in mind that the civil suit is separate from the criminal case; a loss of the criminal case, for instance, does not necessarily preclude success in civil court.
A Conroe family law attorney Can Help with Your Custody Matter
If you need assistance with a custodial interference case, or have questions about another family law matter, an experienced attorney at Peterson Law Group will be happy to work with you. We will provide you with quality legal assistance and help you through this difficult matter. Call to arrange a consultation today at 936-337-4681.
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