As a parent, your custodial rights are a vital part of your relationship with your child. If you have gone through a divorce, paternity action or other case involving child custody, your rights are spelled out in a court order. If anyone interferes with your custodial rights, you are entitled to enforce that order.
In many instances, it is the child's other parent who interferes with a child custody order. However, it may be a third party may who is at fault, as in the recent case of an Alabama man, 20, who was taken into custody in late December 2010 and charged with interference of child custody.
The man was arrested after being discovered with a 16-year-old girl from El Paso. The girl was declared missing December 22 and found seven days later, unharmed, at the man's apartment in Alabama. Apparently, the two had met on the Internet, and the girl had arranged for them to meet in person when she and her family traveled to Alabama for the holidays. The girl will be returned to her mother promptly, much to the mother's relief.
In Texas, a person can be charged with interference with child custody if he or she takes or keeps a child under the age of 18 without court approval or knowingly violates the terms of a court order. In this particular case, law enforcement officials said that bail had not yet been set, but they anticipate the sentencing for the felony offense to be anywhere from one year to 10 years.
This case illustrates that if your custodial rights are determined by a child custody order in a divorce or paternity action, it is important to take action to protect those rights and fight to preserve your relationship with your child.
Source: Baldwincountynow.com, "Foley man taken into custody and charged with child felony," Devin R. Golden, 29 Dec. 2010