CUSTODIAL INTERFERENCE: How to File Custodial Interference Charges

custodial interference

Divorce is difficult enough; what can make matters worse is that it can engender hostility between the two spouses. When children are involved in situations like this, the youngsters suffer the most as a result of the couple’s inability to be civil.
For example, one parent may choose an option that is truly in the best interests of the child, but the other parent will oppose it simply because they cannot allow their ex-spouse to have any type of authority. This type of behavior is not only selfish, but it may have major implications if it interferes with a stated divorce judgment. In this article, we will go through custodial interference and how to file or press the charges in detail. We will also discuss the various sorts of interruption and the legal ramifications.

What is Custodial Interference?

To respond to the inquiry, “What is custodial interference?” To begin, we must define custodial rights. Following a divorce or separation, parents may petition the courts for a custody agreement. In all circumstances, the agreement is put in place to safeguard the kid, and all court decisions are based on the child’s well-being.

Although each case is different, normally one parent will be granted sole or primary legal custody of the kid; this person is referred to as the custodial parent. This guardian’s parenting responsibilities are more open; the child will reside with them, and they can engage in numerous activities without requesting clearance. In contrast, the other parent will be granted partial custody with particular visitation privileges. In circumstances of domestic abuse, however, there may be no entitlement to visit the child at all.

The court-issued agreement is legally binding and must be obeyed. Custodial interference occurs when either parent intentionally interferes with these legal rights.

The Interference

Domestic violence can occur frequently when two spouses or romantic partners live together in a home where there is a struggle. Domestic violence and abuse affect children in a variety of ways when they are present in these relationships. The potential interference effects can be used by one spouse to blame the violence on the other. Some of these circumstances, however, develop as a result of the fear of custodial interference with parenting or even a potential kidnapping. If the aggressor threatens to take the child, the other parent may turn violent and assault the perpetrator.

The Danger of Interference

The opposite party may say that he or she will abduct the child and remove the child from the family. This threat may prompt the other spouse or partner to launch an attack in order to put a stop to the threat. It is not always the greatest decision to seek a way around this potential interference in the relationship, but when there is a threat to children, some people become so emotionally charged that they do not consider it first. The threat of interference can aid in the defense of potential criminal or civil charges of domestic violence in the home.

The Battered Individual

When one individual is the victim of domestic abuse or violence, he or she may need to flee the aggressor and hide in an undisclosed location. During this time, the individual may be required to fill out documents with the county prosecutor if they have been hurt by the other party. These forms can explain that the victim of violence is in a safe location. However, they cannot specify where this location is. Then there is the necessity to file a restraining order against the violent attacker. In most cases, this person will be accompanied by his or her children.

Charges of Crime

Domestic abuse is a difficult situation to go through, and local law enforcement may find charges against the perpetrator difficult to carry out. Other than a single attack, there is frequently minimal proof. The aggressor may remain free if he or she does not file or petition the custodial interference charges in the courts for a restraining order or an order of protection. Furthermore, if the other party files certain forms, such as custodial interference, the victim of the abuse may be placed in a difficult situation. This aggressor can use specific procedures to compel the victim to return to the former location or to the jurisdiction of the court.

Types of Custodial Interference

Custodial interference can take numerous forms. Any interruption to the custody arrangement by either the custodian or another individual is a violation of legal rights. This is more prevalent than many people realize. When parents are fighting for custody of their child, they will often resort to desperate tactics to see their child. The following are some common examples of custodial interference:

  • Failure to return the child on time following a scheduled visitation
  • Arriving for unscheduled visits at unapproved hours
  • Keeping the youngster from communicating with the other parent
  • Taking a kid without the approval of the other parent, whether from the other parent’s home or abroad
  • Speaking negatively about the other parent in order to detach the child from them
  • denying the other parent’s visitation rights
  • Unauthorized visits during the other parent’s designated time

Any of these situations can endanger the child’s mental or physical well-being. Even if a child is content to overstay their contact period, it is the responsibility of both parents to ensure that the court order is followed. There may be legal implications if they do not. Custodial interference can be defined as any divergence from the agreement.

Custody interference, on the other hand, is not always illegal. This occurs when a parent willfully violates their child’s legal rights in the belief that it is in the best interests of the child. This includes avoiding physical harm or other dangers. There are no legal ramifications if a youngster requests to stop seeing one of his or her parents without the other’s consent. Imminent harm is a typical defense used by defense attorneys working on custodial interference cases.

Legal Custodial Interference

There are numerous things that a person can take that interfere with custody but are within the parent’s legal rights. This can include defending the child against the other parent, using violence to stop violence, severe weather, and a previously held agreement that could upset the regular custody arrangements. Some events are beyond the parent’s control. This includes when a special occasion lasts longer than expected when the weather includes snow or ice, or if the other parent is a risk to the child. These are legitimate interferences with custody that the law allows and frequently cannot prevent.

Protection Against Custodial Interference

When one spouse files domestic abuse charges, the other can cite custodial interference as a defense. Different state statutes allow the person to utilize good faith, certain reasons, and even just cause against the other party for the resulting domestic violence. These defenses can help to strengthen the case and give the court an interpretation of spousal or child abuse. If the parent is attempting to gain lawful custody of the kid, he or she can employ the custodial interference argument in domestic violence cases.

Some governments will only provide an excuse as a defense in cases where the child is ill. When the other parent has custody, the parent is not always granted the ability to intervene in these events and may face custodial interference charges in court. Some states will prosecute the parent who does not have the right to custody or visitation when he or she takes measures to remove the child from the other parent. The person can then legally engage in domestic violence actions to prevent the other person from removing the young person from the home. In these cases, the individual who engages in custodial interference will require the assistance of a lawyer.


How to File or Press Charges for Custodial Interference

You may be required to file what is known as a move to enforce the existing custody order. Working with your attorney, you petition the court to have the judge arrange a hearing. There he or she informs both parties that the child custody order must be followed. Failure to do so is considered contempt of court. So your spouse may face jail time if he or she refuses to obey the order.

You should recognize that the court is under no obligation to rule in your favor; they will make their judgment based on the evidence and actions they have observed. This is when your documentation will come in handy. The more evidence you have that this type of impediment is occurring, the better off you will be. Courts do not appreciate it when their orders are disobeyed. Also if the police can back up your claims, things will move much more smoothly for you.

Things to Keep in Mind

The most important thing to remember is to avoid taking the law into your own hands. Don’t just take your children if your ex-spouse is interfering with your right to see them. While it might be difficult and time-consuming at times, it is critical that you follow the right court procedures.

In this circumstance, consulting an attorney is the greatest thing you can do. Your attorney can advise and assist you every step of the process to ensure that if you are needed to attend a motion hearing, you have the necessary documentation and arguments to win.

Causes and Consequences of Custodial Interference

There are various reasons why a parent may become disruptive during a child custody case or even after an agreement on custody and/or parenting time has been reached. This is often because they believe they were given insufficient child custody or want to take issues into their own hands. Another common explanation is that they don’t want the other parent to get their way.

Both situations are selfish and unfair to the child, and they have the potential to cause severe harm. Divorced children are statistically at a disadvantage, often experiencing more psychological, emotional, and physical challenges than married children. According to (Robert E. Emery, Marriage, Divorce, and Children’s Adjustment, Sage Publications, 1988), children of divorce are more prone than children of death to experience physiological difficulties.


Custodial interference occurs when the custodial rights given by the court are violated. Examples include failing to return a child after a visitation, refusing the other parent the right to see them, or even influencing the child’s opinion of the other parent. In all states, violating legal custody rights is a crime punishable by jail.

Anyone affected by custodial interference should seek legal counsel from a family lawyer. As an attorney, you may want to start by recommending mediation to help resolve the matter. You can, however, petition the courts for more serious offenses in order to defend the rights of the legitimate custodian.

Custodial Interference FAQs

Is custodial interference a crime in Texas?

In Texas, interfering with child custody is a criminal, not merely a family or civil concern. Taking or keeping your child against visitation or custody orders is a criminal. Interfering with a parent-child bond is harmful and frequently results in alienating actions.

In Texas, what is the penalty for interfering with child custody?

Interfering with child custody is a state jail felony punishable by up to two years in state prison and/or a $10,000 fine. Certain affirmative defenses—facts that negate or minimize the legal consequences of wrongful conduct—are permitted under Texas Penal Code 25.03

In Texas, is Parental Alienation a crime?

Although it is not technically a crime, the courts can and will use the help of others, such as forensic psychologists, facilitators, and/or guardians ad litem, to assess the child’s situation while in the care of the alienating parent.

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