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Role of law enforcement in child abduction cases

In Texas, a public official or prosecutor may take legal action in child custody cases that meet specific criteria. To move forward with legal action, there must be an existing determination regarding child custody or a request from a court in connection with a pending proceeding involving such a matter. In addition, there must be reasonable suspicion that the child was removed overseas to a country that is a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction or retained in violation of a criminal statute.

Law enforcement officials will take reasonable, lawful action in order to locate a person or child, upon the request of either an appropriate public official or a prosecutor. A public official or prosecutor who takes legal action in connection with an alleged case of child abduction may not represent either party.

If the respondent, or person who made the allegation that a child was abducted, does not prevail in the case, he or she may be required to pay the direct costs of actions incurred by either a public official or prosecutor. Direct costs may also include costs incurred by law enforcement.

There may be serious legal consequences for a parent who takes a child across state or international boundaries in violation of any standing or pending child custody determination. If a parent wishes to travel with his or her child, it is important to make sure that the plans do not violate any local, federal or international laws or child custody determination. A lawyer with a background in child custody cases might help to make sure that any travel plans will not result in legal action.

Source: Texas Constitution and Statutes , "CHAPTER 152. UNIFORM CHILD CUSTODY JURISDICTION AND ENFORCEMENT ACT", January 06, 2015

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