Even if you are a biological parent to your child, you cannot take them away from their other parent without permission or a child custody order. Whether you are separated from your ex, divorced, or in a child custody battle, you could be charged with parental kidnapping if you try to run with your child.
What Is Parental Kidnapping?
Parental kidnapping, or custodial interference, occurs when you take your child from your ex without their permission while they have physical custody under an order of court. It is a criminal offense and can result in hefty fines and possibly even jail time.
Even if you share custody, you cannot take a child if it’s the other parent’s time or fail to return the child at the set time. If you are running late due to a reasonable excuse, make sure you call the other parent to explain the situation as soon as possible.
What If I’ve Been Charged with Parental Kidnapping in Texas?
Texas has a specific law regarding custodial interference. It prohibits parents from taking their children away from an ex while they have custody. It also says you cannot persuade your child into leaving with you willingly.
If you are charged with parental kidnapping, you should call a criminal defense attorney immediately. Custodial interference may not seem like a serious offense, but you’d be sorely mistaken to assume so. According to Texas law, you could face as much as a $10,000 fine and up to two years in prison if convicted.
Also, those penalties could be dramatically increased if the prosecution can prove that:
- You held the child for ransom
- Ransom does not necessarily mean money. If you took the child and demanded something for his or her return, it may be considered ransom.
- You or another person abused the child
- You or another person used a deadly weapon
Parental kidnapping is a serious crime and should therefore always be treated as such. Speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Our law firm has criminal and family lawyers who are former policemen—we can help.