What is Interference with Child Custody?

Anyone who has ever seen a rerun of the television show Law & Order is familiar with the term “custodial Interference”.  In the TV show, it is made to seem like a “lesser” offense. But that’s television. In real life, it is a punishable serious offence.

Interference with child custody occurs when a person takes or retains a child under 18 years of age:

  • When the person knows that the act violates a judgment or order of custody
  • When the person takes the child out of the jurisdiction while a custody suit is pending
  • When the person takes the child out of the U.S. with the intent to deprive the person with possession of the child of possession or access

It is also a violation of child custody laws if the noncustodial parent knowingly entices or persuades the child to leave the custody of his or her custodial parent or guardian.

There are some circumstances that provide an affirmative defense for those committing interference with child custody.  For instance, if the person taking or retaining the child was fleeing the commission or the attempted commission of family violence against the child or the person, or if the retention of the child was due to circumstances beyond the person’s control and every effort was made to contact the custodial parent or guardian, the court would take this into consideration.

In issues of child custody and other matters of family law, your wisest course of action is to consult an experienced attorney for advice.

Do you need help with issues related to child custody?  Call us at (956) 428-2822 or complete our online form for a confidential and no-obligation consultation.

Allegations of Child Neglect

Battling parents in a heated divorce have been known to make allegations against the other parent of neglecting the child or children of the marriage.  Child neglect is a very serious allegation and what constitutes child neglect is quite specific in Texas law.

Things such as not helping with the child’s homework because you’re busy with something else or failing to take the child to a sporting event is regrettable, but it is not neglect.  Neglect includes such things as:

  • leaving a child in a situation where the child would be exposed to a substantial risk of physical or mental harm, without arranging for the necessary care for the child
  • placing a child or failing to remove a child from a situation requiring actions or judgment beyond the child’s capabilities
  • failing to get medical care for the child resulting in or presenting a substantial risk of death, disfigurement, or bodily injury or that results in observable and material impairment to the growth, development, or functioning of the child
  • failing to provide the child with food, clothing, or shelter necessary to sustain the life or health of the child
  • placing the child in or failing to remove the child from a situation in which the child would be exposed to a substantial risk of sexual conduct harmful to the child

Neglect of a child by a parent will weigh heavily in any custody decisions a court makes.  Before raising the matter before a court, be sure to consult with your lawyer to make sure the conduct of the party you are accusing of neglect falls within the statutes.

The Barrera Law Firm can help you with divorce and child custody issues.  Call us at (956) 428-2822 for a free consultation or complete our online form.

Adoptions in Texas

Under Texas law there are strict procedures as to adoption and termination of parental rights. Very often a step-parent has been raising a child for years while the biological parent has chosen to make little to no effort to support the child or manage the child for whatever reason.

Texas law supports the best interest of the child and recognizes that’s what’s best for the child isn’t always a biological parent. Steps may be taken to begin the process for either a voluntary relinquishment of parental rights and consent to adoption, or to fight it out in court and leave it to a judge’s discretion as to grounds for termination, such as not paying child support for a year, or conviction of certain criminal offenses, and others.

Texas adoptions are relatively complicated, and many factors come into play. Some such factors have to do with the criminal history of the adoptive parent, the length of marriage, the presence of family support by the biological parent and more.

For more information on Texas adoptions, call The Barrera Law Firm at (956) 428-2822 or complete our form for a free consultation.

Do I Need A Geographic Restriction in my Child Custody Order?

Texas law provides that a non-custodial parent may ask for a geographical restriction to an identifiable area as large as the United States or a small as a school district or street address. A Geographic restriction protects the non-custodial parent from a situation where the custodial parent up and leaves with the children, making access and visitation more difficult and more expensive.

Although most orders have “notice” provisions built into them as regards to providing notice of a relocation, it does not prohibit the other party from moving. A geographical restriction does. Sometimes, a court will allow an emergency hearing, once it is known that a person is moving, and a geographic restriction may be asked for then. However, it is always best to get one immediately.

Call The Barrera Law Firm, PC, at 956 428 2822 to get a free consultation, in order to inform of you of what your rights are and how to get started with taking action so that you are definitely an undeniable part of your child’s life.

Can I Change a Court Order for Custody, Visitation, or Child Support?

Under Texas law, a divorce decree, child support order, or custody order can be changed if there has been a material or substantial change affecting the best interest of the children. 

Additionally, orders specifically for child support only can be reviewed every three years. Any part of any court order can be changed. Sometimes people only want to change the place for pick up or drop off of the child, or they want a provision added relating to international travel, or relating to property of the child.

Sometimes a parent who wants custody of a child is not prepared for the fact that the court may not grant custody to them because they are deficient in managing the child’s health, education and welfare.

In that case, an attorney can create a modification of prior court order to grant the parent more time or more rights to the child in order to put that parent on the path of custody. Each case is different and requires a case-by-case analysis.

Call us for a free consultation to learn more at (956) 428-2822. 

Holiday Enforcement of Family Law Court Orders

Most court orders relating to child custody have provisions for Christmas possession and access to minor children.

These orders can be in the form of a Divorce Decree or a child support order. Sometimes, these orders are only found in protective orders, temporary orders, or they don’t exist at all. One should be sure to check to be sure they have a valid court order with an actual Judge’s signature.

If you have a court order that was never explained to you, see a lawyer and get every single paragraph of every page explained. If you don’t have any court order relating to your children and you don’t live with the other parent who has possession of the children, you must establish the order as soon as possible.

Holiday orders tend to be standard or custom, depending on the circumstances surrounding the children. These orders can be clarified, modified, and even enforced, if necessary.

Don’t wait for the holiday season to pass before you miss your chance to exercise your rights.

 

For more information, call The Barrera Law Firm, P.C. at 956-428-2822.

Geographic Restrictions Relating to the Primary Residence of Children in Texas

Can you stop the other parent of your children from moving?

Geographic restrictions in Texas is a subject of intense legal debate. It’s a case-by-case issue that depends on many factors.

Here are some factors the court may consider:

1) Is there a consistent and dependable record of visitation and support for the children?

2) Does the other parent take initiative to participate in the child’s education, extracurricular activities and doctor’s appointments?

3) Is the purpose of the move mostly or solely in the interest of the parent and not the children?

4) How far is the move and how would it affect the children?

These are only some of the factors a court would consider. One must always do their due diligence to confer with the other parent about the move.

For more information, call The Barrera Law Firm, P.C. for a free consultation at 956-428-2822

Texas Modification of Custody Orders and Other Orders

It is important to know that if your current court order does not work in best interests of your children, it can be changed.

In Texas, you can modify (change) a court order for many reasons.  Here are some examples:

  • More than one year has passed since the judge signed the existing order and there has been a major change that you can prove is detrimental to the children.
  • Less than one year has passed since the judge signed the existing order and there has been a major change that you can prove is detrimental to the children, and you can show (and swear to in an affidavit) there is a danger to their physical and emotional needs.
  • You were laid off of work and you now have a different job or make less money, and have a different work schedule.
  • You can prove the other parent or their spouse is violating the law and the children are at risk of harm.
  • Your child is over 12 years old and has explicitly stated their desire to live with you, without any pressure or persuasion, and you can demonstrate that you will be more active and capable in raising them than the other parent.
  • You are seeking a court order to restrain the other parent from moving out of the county or state.

There are many other scenarios.

Whether it is a divorce decree or a child support order, any order affecting the best interests of the children can be changed, but it must be done right. If it’s done wrongly, you may lose attorney fees and, even worse, your case could be dismissed.

Feel free to call The Barrera Law Firm, P.C. at (956) 428-2822 for a free consultation today.

Grandparents’ Rights to Custody or Visitation in Texas

Under Texas Law, there are exceptions to the rule that a parent has a superior right to children and that a grandparent has no legal right to custody or visitation of their grandchildren.

The law is grounded in both common sense and fairness. The first thing the court looks at is whether or not a grandparent has the legal standing to bring a suit for custody or for access to and possession of the child.

Some grandparents do not qualify and a competent attorney may be hired to ask the court to deny a request for a legal order for custody or a visitation schedule.

Some grandparents have always had care of and control over a grandchild, yet do not receive the necessary rights in the form of a court order to be able to fully, legally and independently care for the grandchild.

Temporary custody or temporary possession and access are also available for grandparents who qualify with conditions put in place while a parent is away or otherwise unavailable, unfit or incompetent.

Some grandparents have lost touch with a grandchild because the parent they had access through died.

To find out if you qualify to request a legal order for custody or access to grandchildren, call The Barrera Law Firm at (956) 428-2822 for a free consultation.

Enforcement of Summer Possession in Texas Family Law

The Texas Family Code Standard Possession Order is one of the most misunderstood and controversial areas of visitation in Texas. It is broken down into two very different versions that are based on whether the parents live more than 100 miles from each other, or less than 100 miles from each other.

The Standard Possession Order summer visitation also may change up, depending on whether the parent entitled to summer possession designates dates for visitation prior to April 1st, that are different than the standard dates that begin on June 15 (if you are over 100 miles from where your children reside) and July 1 (if you are less than 100 miles from where your children reside). Also, the custodial parent can designates one weekend in between the 30 days visitation (if less than 100 miles) or the custodial parent may designate two weekends in between the 42 days (if more than 100 miles).

Here are some simple tips in dealing with summer possession:

1) Make sure and notify the other party three different ways, such as email, text, and certified letter of the pick up of the children (even if the court order clearly states it).

2) Keep an agenda over the summer of activities for the children that focus on bonding, developing the children’s education, and having fun.

3) Provide generous electronic access to the other parent, so the children feel comfortable, so long as it at a time that does not interfere with activities.

4) Order education apps or computer programs with lessons and tracking ability to work on the weakest subjects that child has problems with, according to their most recent report cards, You can always ask the teachers for recommendations.

For further information on how one can make sure their visitation rights are enforced, made up, or the other party is penalized for not providing court ordered visitation without a legitimate excuse, call Ricardo A. Barrera with the The Barrera Law Firm, PC at (956)428-2822 for help.

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