On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Child Custody on Wednesday, May 7, 2014.
Parents can face criminal charges if they violate child custody orders. Recently, a father has been charged with custodial interference for taking physical custody of his child and failing to return the child to the mother after a scheduled visit. He could face a prison sentence of up to five years if found guilty of the criminal charges.
The father reportedly failed to return the child after a scheduled child visitation and instead relocated the child across state lines. Police investigated the dispute and found probable cause that the father had violated the child visitation agreement. The police reached the father by telephone and he stated that he was not willing to return the child to the physical custody of the mother.
After a police investigation, an arrest warrant was issued for the father, who was picked up in mid-February. He had kept physical custody of the child, against the mother’s wishes, since early January.
In late January, while the child was still in another state with the father, the mother filed a request with the family law court seeking legal custody of the child. Prior to that, the two parents had no written custody agreement, only a verbal joint custody arrangement, making enforcement of child custody orders more difficult.
A family law court will hold a hearing on the mother’s request for legal custody. The father’s trial on the criminal charges against him is not scheduled until September.
By taking matters into his own hands, the father may have hurt his chances for child custody. For Missouri parents seeking a modification of child custody, the assistance of legal counsel can help navigate family law governing divorce and craft more equitable child custody arrangements. This case can also be a good example of why it is so important to speak with an attorney to develop a formal and enforceable child custody arrangement.
Source: Idaho Mountain Express, “Felony charged in child-custody dispute,” April 30, 2014