Is a Non-Custodial Parent Committing Kidnapping If They Travel Out of State With Their Child?
Child custody disputes are often heated affairs and one or both parents frequently disagree with the outcome of custody negotiations. Furthermore, the terms of a custody agreement may sometimes be unclear, leaving parents with questions about what is allowed in terms of taking children out of town, whether for vacation, relocation, or other purposes.
While kidnapping laws in Texas are meant to protect children from abduction and other dangerous situations, parents can actually be charged with kidnapping in certain circumstances. This may seem offensive and hard to believe, but parental kidnapping charges are real and carry serious consequences. If you have been accused of or charged with kidnapping, abduction, or unlawful restraint without consent, contact a Texas criminal defense attorney right away.
Interference with Child Custody
It is a crime in Texas for a parent to take or restrain a minor child when there is an existing custody order that contradicts the parent’s movements. This includes those rare situations in which one parent takes a child out of the country without the permission of the other parent. It also includes a much more common situation: When one parent has filed for divorce and the other parent takes a child out of the court’s jurisdictional area to prevent the court from making decisions about custody or the child’s welfare. This is true even when the parent does not remove the child himself, but rather entices the child away from their other parent.
What Are the Consequences of Parental Kidnapping?
The parent accused of kidnapping a child faces serious consequences. Just being convicted of violating a court custody order allows for jail time and fines, but a conviction for child kidnapping - even of your own child - allows up to 10 years in prison. If a parent uses a weapon, injures or sexually abuses the child, holds the child for ransom, or intimidates the child’s other parent, he or she can face first-degree felony charges and up to life in prison. The criminal charges are in addition to the consequences a parent may face in a family law court, including reduced visitation and even termination of parental rights.
Meet with a Plano, TX Child Kidnapping Defense Attorney
Even if the behavior was unintentional, charges for child kidnapping must be taken seriously; the consequences are too severe not to get the help of an experienced Collin County child kidnapping defense attorney. At The Crowder Law Firm, P.C., we are concerned with protecting your constitutional rights no matter what the circumstances may be. Call us 24/7 at 214-303-9600 to schedule a free meeting with one of our lawyers.