Non-custodial parents who want more visitation time with their children must either come to an agreement with the custodial parent or submit a child custody modification request to the family court. Failure to do these things can lead to a lot of legal problems, particularly if violation of a custody order occurs. A Texas mother has found out firsthand how not following a child custody order can lead to jail time.
The mother's 15-year-old daughter from a previous relationship called her siblings' father to ask if she could visit with them. When the family returned to the father's home, the girl stated she was walking to a friend's house. The father told the kids to walk with her and that was the last time he saw his four children. The father stated that he later received a text from the mother saying the children were with her for the two-week visitation time she was allotted per the court order.
However, there were a few things amiss. First, the mother was supposed to give the father at least a week's notice before taking the children. Second, she kept the children longer than the allotted time. Third, she took the children out of the state. The violations of the custody order resulted in her being arrested. Though she was granted $4,000 bail, she remains in custody because she had an active warrant for her arrest for another matter.
The mother defended her actions by stating the children told her they were being abused by their father. While it is understandable that a parent would want to take children out of a harmful situation, it must be done according to the law. If the mother felt the kids were being mistreated by the father, she should have contacted child protective services. The mother could have also hired an attorney to help her negotiate a change of custody with the father or petition the court for a child custody modification.
As it stands, she has been charged with interstate interference with child custody, which is a felony. The children are still not back in the custody of their father, so she may be facing further charges if the location of the missing kids is not revealed.
Source: The Champion Newspaper, "Noncustodial mother jailed, missing children not returned," Andrew Cauthen, Aug. 24, 2012