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What happens when Texas parents violate a custody order?

Feb 7, 2020 | Child Custody

One of the most upsetting family law issues Texans face is child custody. And it is not just determining custody that presents challenges: enforcing custody orders can also be problematic.

If you have a custody order in place, you should know what happens when someone violates a court order.

What constitutes a violation?

There are many ways a person could violate or interfere with a custody order. Some of the more common violations include:

  • Refusing to bring the child back to the parent
  • Failing to show up for custody exchanges
  • Taking the child out of the country without permission from the parent and/or courts
  • Engaging in prohibited behaviors around the child (e.g., drinking or using drugs)
  • Manipulating a child in an effort to turn the child against the other parent unfairly
  • Making educational, medical or religious decisions without having the right to do so
  • Deliberately scheduling events to disrupt the other person’s parenting time

A parent who violates a custody order in these or other ways can face serious consequences.

Custody enforcement measures

If a violation is a minor inconvenience or isolated incident that does not put a child in danger, parents may be able to discuss the incident and find ways to prevent it from happening again. Alternatively, a letter or call from an attorney may be able to clear up any confusion.

However, when a violation is egregious or persistent, official enforcement measures can be necessary.

Texas courts can make a person comply with a custody order through contempt proceedings. When a court finds a person in contempt, it can force the person to pay a fine or, in some cases, go to jail.

If you have concerns about enforcing a custody order, or if you are worried that the existing order does not protect a child’s best wishes, you can talk to a Family Law attorney about emergency protections or a custody modification.

Should disputes regarding custody arise, it is best to tackle them as quickly as possible and through lawful avenues.