A child custody dispute has landed a woman in a Texas jail and may result in loss of her parental rights. After a weekend visit with her 4-year-old daughter, the woman did not return the girl to her ex-husband, who has primary custody, as required by the terms of the custody order. Instead, she took the girl with her to Mexico. When the girl did not return home at the end of the weekend, the girl’s father alerted law enforcement authorities, fearing he would never see his daughter again.
Several days later, the woman was arrested by U.S. Border Patrol. She currently is being held in Starr County Jail on a felony count of interference with custody. The daughter has been reunited with her father, who has asked the court for both sole custody of the girl and termination of his ex-wife’s parental involvement.
This case illustrates how the parties to a bitter child custody battle can lose sight of what is in the best interests of the child. The repercussions for a parent who is not playing by the rules may be severe. In Texas, there is a presumption that the interests of the child are best met by a joint managing conservatorship. In cases where there is evidence that the child would be at risk with one parent, however, the court may decide the child is better off without that parent’s involvement.
In any custody dispute, it is important to seek assistance from an experienced family law attorney, who may help reach an outcome that protects both the child’s best interests and the parent’s rights.
Source: Liberty Tribune, “Father seeks custody of child after mother heads for the border,” Angie Anaya Borgedalen, Jan. 24, 2013