Warmbrodt & Associates
Board Certified | Texas Board of Legal Specialization
Warmbrodt & Associates
Board Certified | Texas Board of Legal Specialization
Toll Free: 800-611-2638
Phone: 972-509-2725

Your Trusted Family Law Resource

Interfering with child custody in Texas

On Behalf of | Jul 29, 2022 | Child Custody

When a couple is in the throes of divorce, there may be many contentious issues to iron out. Child custody can be one of them, and in Texas, it is against the law for one parent to withhold—or even attempt to withhold—a child from the other parent for whatever reason. In fact, doing so is felony in Texas, and the punishment can be severe. Texas Penal Code 25.03 makes it very clear by pointing out what constitutes interference. 

What constitutes interference? 

A parent interferes with child custody when he or she takes or keeps a child under the age of 18 under the following circumstances: 

  • The parent knows it violates the terms of a judgment, court order or temporary order. 
  • The non-custodial parent coaxes the child to leave the other parent’s custody. 
  • The parent hasn’t been awarded child custody and knows a divorce or lawsuit has been filed regarding custody but takes the child out of the geographical area or out of the county without permission of the court. 
  • The parent takes the child out of the country to deprive the other parent of possession or access to the child without the other parent’s permission. 

Other unique situations  

Interference with child custody in Texas is a felony punishable by six months to two years in a state jail and a maximum $10,000 fine. However, it is not only parents who could be charged in this regard. There are incidents when grandparents or other family members have been charged with this offense if they try to keep the child or fail to return the child as per a court order. It is also not uncommon for a parent or parents to be charged with interference if Child Protective Services tries to remove a child from the home. 

All of the above shows the serious nature of child custody interference in the state of Texas. Any parent with questions relating to the legalities of child custody could benefit from seeking independent legal guidance from an experienced family law attorney. An attorney can carefully analyze the unique circumstances of his or her client’s situation to eliminate potential missteps and increase the odds of achieving the best possible outcome.  

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