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Texas custody laws: Can a parent kidnap their child?

On Behalf of | Aug 1, 2023 | Child Abduction

Child custody disputes can be emotionally charged and complicated affairs. In some cases, one parent may take drastic action, like removing the child from the other parent’s custody without consent or in violation of a court order.

This act, often referred to as parental kidnapping, is considered a serious offense in Texas, and the culpable parent risks facing stiff legal penalties if convicted. Here is what you need to know about this commonly misunderstood occurrence.

What amounts to parental kidnapping?

Parental kidnapping occurs when a parent disobeys or violates court orders by taking the child without proper authorization. It can happen even if a parent has legitimate concerns or grievances with the other parent and takes matters into their own hands.

For instance, traveling out of state with the children contrary to custody orders or taking away the children to protest your co-parent’s constant violation of the custody arrangement could amount to parental kidnapping.

The legal consequences

Parental kidnapping can lead to severe legal consequences for the offending parent. They may face criminal charges, which can result in imprisonment and hefty fines, as parental kidnapping is considered a felony offense.

Other unintended consequences include a criminal record, losing some civil rights and, in some cases, custody or visitation rights. Parental abduction is not in the children’s best interests, and it can paint a parent negatively before a family court judge.

Efficiently resolving custody disputes

When facing custody disputes or concerns about the child’s well-being, seeking legal guidance and following the proper procedures is crucial. It could help safeguard your parental rights and interests. Mediation, counseling or legal intervention can be productive ways to address conflicts and ensure the child’s best interests are prioritized.