Interference with Child Custody in Texas

In the State of Texas, interference with child custody is punishable both civilly and criminally. 

According to the Texas Family Code, a person who takes, retains, or conceals the whereabouts of a child at a time when another person is entitled to possession or access of the child may be liable for civil damages to that person. 

The damages that may be recovered are expenses incurred while locating the child, securing the possession of the child, and enforcing the order, including attorneys fees. One may also be entitled to mental suffering and anguish incurred due to the interference and violation of the order. One may also be entitled to exemplary (punitive) damages if the violating party acts with malice, or an intent to harm the other party.

A violator can also be held criminally liable for interfering with child custody. According to the Texas Penal Code, a person commits an offense if they take or retain a child younger than 18 years of age, and:

  1. The person knows their taking or retention violates the express terms of a judgment or order, including a temporary order, of a court disposing of the child’s custody; or

  2. when the person  has not been awarded custody of the child by a court of competent jurisdiction, knows that a suit for divorce or a civil suit or application for habeas corpus to dispose of the child’s custody has been filed, and takes the child out of the geographic area of the counties composing the judicial district if the court is a district court or the county if the court is a statutory county court, without the permission of the court and with the intent to deprive the court of authority over the child; or

  3. outside of the United States with the intent to deprive a person entitled to possession of or access to the child of that possession or access and without the permission of that person.

A noncustodial parent commits an offense if, with the intent to interfere with the lawful custody of a child younger than 18 years, the noncustodial parent knowingly entices or persuades the child to leave the custody of the custodial parent, guardian, or person standing in the stead of the custodial parent or guardian of the child. Such an offense is a state jail felony which, if prosecuted, can lead to fines of up to $10,000.00 and anywhere from 180 days to two years in state jail. 

Nacol Law Firm – Dallas Custody Attorneys – Dallas Divorce

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is in no way intended to constitute legal advice. The information provided is merely an overview of the relevant law. Do not act on this information. Always consult an attorney for legal advice.

Infidelity or Adultery in a Texas Divorce

In Texas, adultery or infidelity may play a significant role in how a divorce unfolds, impacting asset division in a divorce and even custody issues to a certain extent. Here’s how adultery generally affects the divorce process in Texas:

1. Grounds for Divorce:

  • No-Fault Divorce: Texas allows for “no-fault” divorces, where neither spouse has to blame the other for the breakdown of the marriage. Commonly, the reason cited is “insupportability,” which means that the marriage has become insupportable due to discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.
  • Fault-Based Divorce: Adultery is also one of the grounds for a fault-based divorce in Texas. If one spouse can prove the other’s infidelity, it can influence the divorce proceedings, particularly in financial settlements and custody decisions. The Court of Appeals has given the following definition of Adultery: “the voluntary sexual intercourse of a married person with one not the spouse.” In re S.A.A., 279 S.W.3d 853, 856 (Tex. App.—Dallas 2009, no pet.)

2. Impact on Division of Assets:

  • In Texas, the court divides marital property based on what is “just and right.” While this typically starts with the presumption of a 50/50 split, proven adultery can lead the court to award a more favorable division to the non-adulterous spouse. This is because the court may consider the circumstances and factors under which the property was acquired and the behavior of the parties during the marriage. Such factors include: Such factors include (1) the nature of the marital property, (2) the relative earning capacity and business opportunities of the parties, (3) the parties’ relative financial condition and obligations, (4) the parties’ education, (5) the size of separate estates, (6) the age, (7) health, and (8) physical conditions of the parties, (9) fault in breaking up the marriage, (10) the benefit the innocent spouse would have received had the marriage continued, and (11) the probable need for future support. Murff v. Murff, 615 S.W.2d 696, 698 (Tex. 1981).

3. Impact on Child Custody and Visitation:

  • While adultery by itself does not necessarily impact custody arrangements, the circumstances surrounding the adultery might. For instance, if adulterous behavior also involved other conduct that could be deemed harmful to the children it could influence the court’s decisions regarding custody and visitation rights. More common repercussions for Adultery or Infidelity in a divorce are what the Court’s call a  “morality clause”. This provision usually prohibits one parent from having a romantic third-party guest stay in the house while the children are present from 8:00 pm to 9:00 am the next day.

4. Proving Adultery:

  • Proving adultery in a divorce case requires evidence that convinces the court of the likelihood that infidelity occurred. Direct evidence is not necessarily required; circumstantial evidence that suggests the likelihood of both opportunity and inclination to commit adultery might suffice. The burden of proof is the preponderance of the evidence, thus just a little more than 50%. It should be known that actions of adultery and infidelity are still probably even after separation and during the divorce litigation. 

Adultery and Infidelity are not as damaging in the modern era, though it is completely fact intensive and dependent on the Judge in your case. Some Judges take Adultery in a Texas Divorce more seriously than others. It is a liability to mitigate if it has occurred. 

Julian Nacol
Nacol Law Firm P.C.
Dallas Divorce Attorney
(972) 690-3333

Texas Child Support Guidelines

Effective September 1, 2019 The Texas Child Support Division of the Attorney General increased the Maximum child Support under the Texas Child Support Guidelines from $8,550 to the “new cap”of net monthly resources to $9200 annually. This change in the law will increase the amount of maximum child support from of $1,710.00 to $1,840.00 monthly (20% of $9200. For one child)

Texas Family Code §154.125(a)(1) requires that every six years the presumptive amount of net resources to which the child support guidelines apply shall be reviewed and adjusted for inflation by the Texas Office of the Texas Attorney General (OAG). That section sets out the formula for doing so based on the consumer price index. The last adjustment was done in 2013 when the current amount of $8550 per month was established.

How does the “cap” work and what could this mean for you? If your net monthly resources are less than $8,550, the child support obligation will not change on Sept. 1. You are under the “current cap” and lower than the “new cap”. All stays the same. 

If you are currently going through litigation and your net monthly resources exceeds $8,550 and the Court orders child support prior to September 1, 2019, Texas Child Support Guidelines will mandate that the Court apply the appropriate child support percentage to the first $8,550 in net monthly resources based on the number of children.  But, if the Court orders child support after September 1, 2019, it will apply the new appropriate child support percentage to the first $9,200 in net monthly resources. 

Child support under the guidelines is determined by applying the applicable percentage, beginning at 20% for one child and increasing incrementally for each additional child, to the net resources amount. If a child support obligor has monthly net resources over $9200, a party seeking above the guideline’s child support has the burden of proving to the court that additional support should be ordered according to factors set out in Texas Family Code §154.126.

Important to Know: The new “cap” increase of September 1, 2019 will not automatically increase the obligor’s existing child support obligation. Any change in child support standing before September 1, 2019, can only occur through the court with a modification order to increase the child support to the new “Cap” amount of $9200. After September 1, 2019, any new suit for child support will be subject to the new “cap”. 

Please review the Texas Office of the Texas Attorney General (OAG) website for a child support calculator for the new breakdown:

The Nacol Law Firm PC
8144 Walnut Hill Lane
Suite #1190
Dallas, Texas 75231

Civil Litigation in Texas – Do You have a Case

Have you been harmed by the actions of another person or business in Texas? The Nacol Law Firm PC, in Dallas TX, represents clients in a broad scope of civil disputes, including:

Business Litigation,
Contract Disputes,
Real estate litigation and disputes,
Corporate litigation,
Probate and Will contests,
Employment agreements,
Breach of contract,
Breach of non-disclosure agreements,
Violation of fair-trade practices,
Breach of fiduciary duty,
Home-builder and seller warranty disputes,
Construction litigation,

Breaking Up a For Profit Corporation

A For Profit Corporation can be a useful tool if utilized appropriately. One major problem with a For Profit Corporation is the lack of flexibility to dissolve the Corporation when a disagreement arises between the equity shareholders. If ownership in a For Profit Corporation consists of 50% – 50% split in equity then there may be issues down the road.

Many future circumstances may warrant a dissolution of the For Profit Corporation, such as a dispute on the direction of the business, the profitability of the business, or simply a disagreement regarding employment and management duties. When these disputes arise, it may make the For Profit Corporation untenable and impractical. This can be a problem if one owner of the company wishes to continue business as usual and the other owner wishes to dissolve the corporation.

When making the decision to enter into a For Profit Corporation and splitting equity within the Corporation at a 50/50 ratio please keep in mind a couple of things:

  1. It will be hard to dissolve the Corporation with a 50/50 split in equity;
  2. It will cost additional expenses to appoint a receiver to manage the company;
  3. It will cost additional expenses to retain a lawyer for the purpose of forcibly winding down a For Profit Corporation;
  4. It will be an uphill battle to dissolve a For Profit Corporation that creates jobs in the community because the policy of Texas Courts’ is to find any alternatives to a dissolution that may bring termination to many employees.
  5. It will be a complex and time consuming undertaking to dissolve a For Profit Corporation if both equity shareholders do not agree.

Prior to forming a For Profit Corporation, you should research all of your options. Many business organization can provide tax relief and flexibility without the rigidity of a For Profit Corporation. Please seek an experienced attorney when creating or amending any business organization and ask the pros and cons of all business entities.


8144 Walnut Hill Lane
Suite 1190
Dallas, Texas 75231
Office Hours
Monday – Thursday, 8am – 5pm
Friday, 8:30am – 5pm




Attorney Mark A. Nacol is board certified in Civil Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization

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