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.

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. 

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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