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Parental Kidnapping in Texas

Parental Kidnapping in Texas

Can Texas parents be charged under federal kidnapping laws?

Generally, no, parents usually aren’t charged under federal kidnapping laws. Federal kidnapping laws exempt parents from federal charges. Parental kidnapping in Texas will almost always be prosecuted under Texas state law. There is no corresponding federal law that federal agents could pursue.

Federal officials won’t get involved even if the child is taken across state lines. Your Fort Worth parental kidnapping lawyer will explain if, in fact, federal agents should get involved.

Congress added specific language in the federal kidnapping laws (18 U.S.C. § 1201), excluding parents from being charged with federal kidnapping crimes.

A separate federal law, however, prohibits parents from taking a child outside of the U.S. with the intent to prevent the other parent from exercising a legal right to custody or visitation. A conviction for the charge of international parental kidnapping – Title 18 U.S. Code § 1204 – could result in up to three years in federal prison.

The exception to this is if a biological parent had their parental rights terminated by a Texas judge under Texas Family Code §161.001. The exclusion under federal law does not protect that parent.

In fact, under these circumstances, the parent with terminated rights is no longer considered to be a “parent” as defined under federal statute 18 U.S.C. § 1201(a), (h).

An adept Fort Worth parental kidnapping lawyer will explain in detail your options.

parental kidnapping in Texas

What is the punishment for parental kidnapping in Texas?

Under Texas Penal Code §25.03(d), parental kidnapping is a state jail felony punishable by up to two years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. Texas courts take parental kidnapping charges very seriously.

If in the course of the offense, the parent holds the child for ransom, uses a deadly weapon, or abuses the child, the court is likely to increase the number and severity of the charges and their corresponding punishments.

The prosecutor could see to convict based on separate and independent criminal charges beyond interference with child custody. If you’re facing such charges, contact a skilled Fort Worth parental kidnapping lawyer immediately.

If the person was not awarded custody of the child, is aware of a suit for divorce or civil suit regarding child custody has been filed, and takes the child out of a geographic area without the court’s permission “with the intent to deprive the court of authority over the child.”

How does Texas define parental kidnapping?

Parental kidnapping cases usually involve a divorce or custody proceeding already in the legal process. Sometimes in these scenarios, the divorce or child custody issues are still pending before a Texas civil court. In other cases, signed custody orders may already be on file, which dictates the parent’s custodial limitations.

According to Texas statute Sec. 25.03, interference with child custody, or parental kidnapping, occurs if a parent takes or retains a child younger than 18:

  1. When the individual knows that the person’s taking or retention violates the express terms of a judgment or order, including a temporary order, of a court, disposing of the child’s custody;
  2. When the individual has not been awarded custody of the child by a court of competent jurisdiction, knows that a suit for divorce or a civil suit or application for habeas corpus to dispose of the child’s custody has been filed, and takes the child out of the geographic area of the counties composing the judicial district if the court is a district court or the county if the court is a statutory county court, without the permission of the court and with the intent to deprive the court of authority over the child; or
  3. Outside of the United States, with the intent to deprive a person entitled to possession of or access to the child of that possession or access without that person’s permission.

It’s against Texas law for a noncustodial parent to knowingly entice or persuade a child to leave the custody of the custodial parent, guardian, or person standing in the stead of the custodial parent or guardian.

Even if you’re the biological parent and the child wants to be with you, it’s still illegal, and you could face felony kidnapping charges. If you’re in this situation, consult with a skilled Fort Worth parental kidnapping lawyer.

federal parental kidnapping

Can Texas parents be charged under federal kidnapping laws?Parental Kidnapping in Texas

No, parents usually aren’t charged under federal kidnapping laws. Federal kidnapping laws exempt parents from federal charges. Parental kidnapping in Texas will almost always be prosecuted under Texas state law. There is no corresponding federal law that federal agents could pursue.

Federal officials won’t get involved even if the child is taken across state lines. Your Fort Worth parental kidnapping lawyer will explain if, in fact, federal agents should get involved.

Congress added specific language in the federal kidnapping laws (18 U.S.C. § 1201), excluding parents from being charged with federal kidnapping crimes.
A separate federal law, however, prohibits parents from taking a child outside of the U.S. with the intent to prevent the other parent from exercising a legal right to custody or visitation.

A conviction for the charge of international parental kidnapping – Title 18 U.S. Code § 1204 – could result in up to three years in federal prison.

The exception to this is if a biological parent had their parental rights terminated by a Texas judge under Texas Family Code §161.001.
The exclusion under federal law does not protect that parent.

In fact, under these circumstances, the parent with terminated rights is no longer considered to be a “parent” as defined under federal statute 18 U.S.C. § 1201(a), (h).

An adept Fort Worth parental kidnapping lawyer will explain in detail your options.

Last Updated on March 31, 2023 by Benson Varghese

Parental kidnapping in Texas occurs when a parent takes the child in violation of a judge’s mandate. It doesn’t matter whether the mandate was from a temporary proceeding or formal custody order.

The parent accused of kidnapping can be pursued and arrested by law enforcement for interference with child custody, per Texas Penal Code §25.03.

According to a 2017 study, about 4% of children in the United States experience family abduction or parental kidnapping. Each year approximately three in 1,000 children are victims of parental kidnapping or abduction by a family member.

Interference with child custody is a felony offense in Texas. Has your spouse illegally taken your child?

The Varghese Summersett Family Law Group has 30 years of experience in Tarrant County. We understand there is nothing scarier than someone taking your child. This post will explain parental kidnapping, punishments, and what you should do if the other parent kidnaps your child.

How does Texas define parental kidnapping?

Parental kidnapping cases usually involve a divorce or custody proceeding already in the legal process. In that instance, it’s imperative to find a skillful Fort Worth parental kidnapping lawyer if one hasn’t already been hired.

Sometimes in these scenarios, the divorce or child custody issues are still pending before a Texas civil court. In other cases, signed custody orders may already be on file, which dictates the parent’s custodial limitations.

According to Texas statute Sec. 25.03, interference with child custody, or parental kidnapping, occurs if a parent takes or retains a child younger than 18:

(1) When the individual knows that the person’s taking or retention violates the express terms of a judgment or order, including a temporary order, of a court, disposing of the child’s custody;

(2) When the individual has not been awarded custody of the child by a court of competent jurisdiction, knows that a suit for divorce or a civil suit or application for habeas corpus to dispose of the child’s custody has been filed, and takes the child out of the geographic area of the counties composing the judicial district if the court is a district court or the county if the court is a statutory county court, without the permission of the court and with the intent to deprive the court of authority over the child; or

(3) Outside of the United States, with the intent to deprive a person entitled to possession of or access to the child of that possession or access without that person’s permission.

It’s against Texas law for a noncustodial parent to knowingly entice or persuade a child to leave the custody of the custodial parent, guardian, or person standing in the stead of the custodial parent or guardian.

Even if you’re the biological parent and the child wants to be with you, it’s still illegal, and you could face felony kidnapping charges. If you’re in this situation, consult with a skilled Fort Worth parental kidnapping lawyer.

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