When a Texas couple goes their separate ways, there might be issues that still need to be addressed even if they are not together as a couple. If they had children, child custody and visitation (also referred to as possession) are common challenges that might arise. While many parents will focus on the child’s needs and place any lingering ill feelings with the other parent aside, some might commit illegal acts and violate the custody agreement. When this happens, it is imperative that parents do not take matters into their own hands and understand their options and the law for child custody interference.
There are penalties for failing to adhere to the custody agreement
Parents are expected to follow the court order for custody and visitation. Of course, there may be extenuating circumstances that might be considered if there are allegations of illegal behavior and violations. Otherwise, the state takes enforcement of these orders seriously. It is against the law for a parent to take a child who is under 18 and refuse to return the child when obligated to do so under the order. That includes a temporary order. Parents are also prevented from taking the child out of the geographic area without permission during a divorce case. The child cannot be taken out of the United States if that is done to prevent the other parent from having possession and access unless permission to leave the country has been given.
Parents can also face charges if they persuade the child to leave the custody of the other parent. If parents return the child to the geographic area within three days after the offense was committed, it is a defense from prosecution. Parents can take the child if they have a valid order to do so and if there were circumstances that were beyond their control. Being entitled to access or escaping with the child from a violent situation is also a viable defense against allegations of failing to adhere to the custody order.
Professional representation can be helpful with child custody enforcement
It might seem to be a last resort to try and have the other parent brought up on charges for child custody interference. In some instances, it is necessary. The parent who is accused might have had a justification to do so. There may be room for negotiation and discussion, especially if the parents were on relatively good terms beforehand. The best interests of the child are paramount, but parents must remember they too have rights. For issues related to enforcement of the agreement, having professional guidance is imperative and can help to address the problems as they come up.