Did you know? Inference with court-ordered child custody is a crime
From the Desk of Sheriff Bobby Guidroz
The St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office responds to hundreds of domestic complaints each year that involve disputes over the custody of a child. Separation and divorce is a difficult time for the adults involved, and can be devastating for children.
Our court systems do their very best, led by conscientious judges, to focus on the overall well being of children when custody is determined. If a parent feels that custody has been wrongfully determined by the court, violating the courts order can be considered a criminal act and could result in arrest.
Louisiana law is clear, LA R.S. 14:45.1 states, “Interference with the custody of a child is the intentional taking, enticing, or decoying away of a minor child by a parent not having a right of custody, with intent to detain or conceal such child from a parent having a right of custody pursuant to a court order or from a person entrusted with the care of the child by a parent having custody pursuant to a court order.
It shall be an affirmative defense that the offender reasonably believed his actions were necessary to protect the welfare of the child.
The only time a court’s child custody order can be legally violated, is if the offending parent can present reasonable evidence that the child’s welfare is in peril if left with the custodial parent. Courts have established that to mean real, viable danger to the child. For instance, if the child was found to have been burned repeatedly by a cigarette while in the custody of the custodial parent, then any reasonable man would agree that the child should not be returned to that environment, and the non-custodial parent would be able t o present a valid argument for refusing to return the child to the custodial parent. In that case, the non-custodial parent should call the police and request an investigation.
However, if the non-custodial parent does not like his ex-wife’s new boyfriend, or doesn’t like it that his ex smokes in front of the child or feels that his ex doesn’t feed the child healthy food; complaints like that would not establish a danger to the welfare of the child. The bottom line is, court ordered child custody is not to be disregarded by either parent unless some dire emergency exists which would threaten the child’s physical safety.
Court orders of any kind are considered law. If any parent decides to violate an existing custody order, that parent could very well find themselves under arrest. All of us recognize the fact that divorce can present emotionally charged environments and that people can make very bad decisions because of emotion, however, as sheriff, I am duty bound to enforce the courts written order and we will not tolerate frivolous disregard of those orders.”
The above information is intended for information purposes only and not for legal advice. For legal advice, consult an attorney. Questions can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org