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Barbara L. Jouette, Attorney, P.C.
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Violating child custody order is criminal offense

Though it may appear to many Texas parents that violating a custody order would be considered a civil matter, this is not the case. Unlike other areas of family law, disobeying a child custody order is a criminal offense. When a person commits a crime, victims may want to contact the police for help, but many parents now complain that police are hesitant to enforce child custody orders. 

Violating a child custody order in Texas is a felony, and if found guilty, the penalty can be two years in jail. A recent study shows that law enforcement may not be doing a good job making sure violators are properly charged. Some parents state that another parent is purposely keeping a child from them, and police are not helping them enforce the order. 

This can be a frustrating situation, especially because research shows that keeping a child away from a parent during time granted by the court can have a negative effect on a child's mental health. When court orders are put into place, both parties must follow the schedule stated in the order. If one parent blatantly disregards the order, the other may fear his or her relationship with the child may suffer. 

The good news is, parents have other options to be sure their child custody order is enforced. When a parent needs to have an order put in place for the first time, or wants to modify an existing order, he or she has the right to consult an experienced attorney. An attorney can help a parent make the court aware there is a problem with custody or visitation and make sure that a violator is held responsible for the crime. 

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