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Texas law ignored for interference with child custody

Apparently, the Texas penal code 25.03 regarding interference with child custody is not enforced in most cities around the state including Dallas, El Paso, Houston and San Antonio. The law stipulates that anyone knowingly taking or retaining a child when there is a standing judgment in the custody matter is in violation of a criminal offense that can carry up to a two-year prison sentence. However, for 2012, only Austin has records indicating five arrests were made by the Travis County Sheriff's Office. The district attorney there confirmed two people were charged with interference of child custody.

Parents across the state with court ordered visitation rights are frustrated because the custodial parents sometimes make it difficult for them to spend time with their children. This practice can certainly make it harder to form an retain a strong bond with their children.

According to the district attorney of El Paso, that interference with child custody is a complex civil problem that is ordinarily dealt with in family court. Criminal charges would typically not be filed until repeated attempts occur in violation of court orders, or in the case where a person takes extreme advantage of the situation. Family matters like this are difficult to prosecute, and he believes that more criminal charges are not filed in these instances because if a precedent was set and more parents were criminally prosecuted, people would be working hard to get their exes arrested.

Child custody disputes could be difficult to iron out because emotions often play such a large part in the proceedings. A family law attorney may be an advocate who understands the laws involved in child custody issues, and he or she could vouch for the best interests of the child.

Source: KFOX, "Special Report: Interference with child custody not enforced in Texas", Bill Melugin, February 03, 2014

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Bruce Turner

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