Child custody results from decisions made between parents or by the court regarding a child’s legal and physical custody. Laws governing child custody typically take the child’s needs first. This factor may or may not resolve the custody battle between parents. For example, a custody battle may result in parental kidnapping. Parental kidnapping occurs when a relative abducts a minor from the custody of their parent or guardian.

What Is Interference with Child Custody in Texas?

Interference with child custody refers to the criminal act of taking or restraining a minor younger than 18 years old in violation of a custody order.

What Are the Type of Acts Considered Interfering with Child Custody?

Acts considered interfering with the custody of a child in Texas include:

  • Knowingly violating the expressed terms of a judgment, including any temporary orders, by taking or retaining the child
  • Taking or retaining the minor when the person has not been awarded custody of the child by the court and leaves the jurisdiction
  • Retaining or taking the minor outside of the United States with the intent to deprive someone of custody of the child

Is Interfering with Child Custody a Felony in Texas?

Yes, it is a jail felony. A jail felony is a criminal sentence of:

  • 180 days to two years in state jail
  • $10,000 fine
  • Pay a fine or time in state jail

Are There Any Defenses I Can Use to Interfering with Child Custody?

Yes. The following are some common defenses in Texas:

  • The person returned the child within three days after the crime occurred
  • Taking or retaining the child was done according to a valid court order
  • Retaining or taking the child was due to circumstances beyond the person’s control

Should I Talk to a Lawyer about My Case?

Being convicted of interfering with child custody will not one lead to a harsh punishment, but it will also jeopardize your chances with having access to your child. Contact a Texas criminal lawyer immediately to find out the possible defenses you can use to fight your charge.