What Happens if I Violate a Custody Order?

Custody order

Legal Penalties of Custody Interference

Custody orders require both parties to comply. If either coparent intentionally interferes with the other’s parenting time, they may face legal consequences.

Writ of Habeas Corpus

Habeas corpus is an official order to bring an individual before the court. It can be utilized in child custody cases to order an individual to return a child to the party legally entitled to custody at that time.

Beyond enforcing existing orders, the court has the power to issue temporary orders in response to immediate questions or concerns for a child’s safety and wellbeing. These emergency actions are typically reserved for situations where a child’s physical or emotional safety is at risk.

Contempt of Court

Courts can hold violators in contempt to enforce conservatorship orders. This measure enforces adherence, though there are several steps one must take to be eligible.

The party seeking enforcement bears the burden of proving that the other violated specific terms of the order. They will typically be required to offer details about the violations, including:

  • The dates and times they occurred
  • The locations they occurred
  • The names of all parties involved
  • Any communication shared between the parties
  • The activities and the specific part of the order that the actions violate

One could be held in contempt if ample proof exists that they interfered with the other’s visitation rights. It’s important to note, however, that courts typically require any interference to be intentional, voluntary, and knowingly against what is outlined in the order.

Criminal Consequences

In serious cases, child custody interference can result in a felony charge. Typically, this happens when a person:

  • Knows that their taking or retention of the child violates a judgment or order
  • Takes a child outside of the geographical area of a court’s jurisdiction without the court’s permission while a civil suit, divorce suit, or habeas corpus application is pending
  • Takes a child outside of the country in an attempt to deprive another party of their entitlement to see their child without that person’s permission

Civil Liability

Violators could face more than jail time – they could be held accountable for any liable damages. They could be made to repay any damages faced as a result of their taking, retaining, or sealing of a child.

Texas courts take conservatorship cases seriously. If your co-conservator is violating your court order, contact The Springer Law Firm PLLC. Our attorneys can help you fight to protect your child.

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