For many Texas parents who must share custody of their children with another parent, the process can work as planned. Each party exchanges the child as per the agreement and in the best interests of the child. However, there are some situations in which this is not the case. One parent may prevent the other from access to the children or may take children when not allowed. Child custody issues such as these are governed under Texas law.
The need for parenting time to be heeded as planned by a child custody order or agreement modification is important. According to Texas penal code, any interference with such an order can be deemed a felony, leaving the person found guilty liable for up to two years in prison. However, a recent news article published a special report that indicates this law is not being followed in many areas of the state.
When representing a father unable to have access to his children as legally mandated, an El Paso attorney learned that the city considered such an offense a civil rather than criminal matter. This launched an investigation into the actions of other cities around the state. Austin was the only city found to have any arrests on record for such actions. The Houston police department provided a written document instructing officers to direct all such matters to civil court.
When the law is not followed by citizens, help is needed. When it is not followed by law enforcement, even more help can be needed. Working with a family law attorney who understands the issues that can arise in a child custody dispute may be the best way to get the right help.
Source: KFOXTV.com, “Special Report: Interference with child custody not enforced in Texas,” Bill Belugin, February 3, 2014