PROPOSED LEGISLATIVE BILL AMENDMENT

FOR SENATE BILL

By: ________ of the Senate

and

(add all the additional senator names

who support this bill amendment GO here)

S.B. No. _______(to be assigned)

 

SECTION 1. Section _, Chapter 25, Title 6, Section 25.03 (S.B. _____) is amended to read as follows:

An Act relating to interference with child custody; amending Title 6, Chapter 25, OFFENSES AGAINST THE FAMILY, Section 25.03 INTERFERENCE WITH CHILD CUSTODY, which relates to interference with custodial rights of parents and guardians.

 

BE IN ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:

SECTION 1.†††† AMENDATORY††††††††† _________, Section ______, [Need this section out of the Vernonís Texas Civil Statutes Ė The Senator who decides to support this Bill will send this to the appropriate people to put this in here.] is amended to read as follows:

†††† SECTION 2: Section 25.03 INTERFERENCE WITH CHILD CUSTODY is amended to read as follows:

†††† Sec. 25.03. INTERFERENCE WITH CHILD CUSTODY. (b)A person or parent commits an offense if the person or parent retains a child younger than 18 years of age:

†††† †††† (1) when the person knows that the personís taking or retention violates the express terms of a judgment or order, including a temporary order, of a court disposing of the childís custody;

††††††††† (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, without a valid court order giving express permission, or without the permission of the other parent in writing, and with the intent to deprive the other parent of the child or 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.

†††† (b)A noncustodial parent or person commits an offense if, with the intent to interfere with the lawful custody of a child younger than 18 years, the noncustodial parent or person 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 entitled to custody at that time or guardian of the child entitled to custody at that time.

†††† (c)It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (a)(2) that the actor returned the child to 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, within three days 2 hours after the date of the commission of the offense and has provided in writing to the parent entitled to the time the parent interfered with makeup time of like quality and time.

†††† (c-1)It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under Subsection (a)(3) that:

†††† †††† (1)the taking or retention of the child was pursuant to a valid order providing for possession of or access to the child; or

††††††††† (2)notwithstanding any violation of a valid order providing for possession of or access to the child, the actor's retention of the child was due only to circumstances beyond the actor's control and the actor promptly provided notice or made reasonable attempts to provide notice of those circumstances to the other person entitled to possession of or access to the child.

†††† (c-2)Subsection (a)(3) does not apply if, at the time of the offense, the person taking or retaining the child:

†††† †††† (1)was entitled to possession of or access to the child; and

†††† †††† (2)was fleeing the commission or attempted commission of family violence, as defined by Section 71.004, Family Code, against the child or the person and the person taking or retaining the child filed notice of the family violence with the court and has scheduled or attempted to schedule a hearing within 10 days of the retaining of the child, and proper charges have been filed regarding these allegations.

†††† †††† †††† (2-a) The parent fleeing with the child has 10 days to get an emergency hearing scheduled to be heard on the family violence allegation. If no emergency order is issued then the child must be returned to the parent whose possession time was violated with makeup time immediately of like quality and amount of time that the parent lost. If the fleeing parent refuses to sign an agreement with the other parent for this makeup time then the fleeing parent shall be subject to arrest and prosecution for interference with child custody.

†††† †††† (3) the failure to surrender the child to the other parent was out of the parent or personís control in possession of the child. A child refusing to go to the other parent is not a valid defense and does not qualify.

†††† (d)An offense under this section is a state jail felony. It is not an affirmative defense that the person is the other parent as long as the complaining parent or person has a court order showing that the parent in possession of the child is not entitled to possession of the child during that time.

†††† (c-3) It is not an affirmative defense that the child is refusing to go to the other parent or that the taking or retaining parent or person cannot get the child to go to the other parent.

†††† SECTION 3. EFFECT OF ACT. (a) This Act prevails over any other Act of the 84th Legislature, Regular Session, 2015, regardless of the relative dates of enactment, that purports to define or re-define the rights of each parent-child individual family unit. notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the provisions of this article apply to any statute, agency rule, or local ordinance and the implementation of such statute, agency rule, or local ordinance.

†††† SECTION 4. EFFECTIVE DATE. This Act takes effect on August 30, 2017 if it receives a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.If this Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this Act takes effect September 1, 2017.

†††† SECTION 5: BILL SUMMARY: Bill Summary (Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced and does not reflect any amendments that may be subsequently adopted. If this bill passes third reading in the house of introduction, a bill summary that applies to the re-engrossed version of this bill will be available at http://www.tdi.texas.gov/reports/leg/85bills/billsummary.html.) The bill amends provisions relating to INTERFERENCE WITH CHILD CUSTODY in the penal code. With respect to such actions, the bill: supports the legislative declaration to emphasize that judges should protect parenting time so that the child may have the security in knowing that they are free to be with and love both parents unless there has been a proper adjudication contrary to that presumption, regardless of divorce. This amended bill is to assist in maintaining the parent-child bond and relationship and to prevent parents from avoiding child abduction and interference laws just because they are one of the parents. This is also to strengthen the assistance, reduce the bias, reduce the expense on a parent trying to enforce their custodial rights, and reduce delays and eliminate the reluctance that parents get from law enforcement and courts in enforcing their custodial time with their child. SENATE SPONSORSHIP __________, HOUSE SPONSORSHIP ______________, Shading denotes HOUSE amendment. Double underlining denotes SENATE amendment. Capital letters indicate new material to be added to existing statute. Dashes through the words indicate deletions from existing statute. Underlining indicates material that was added to the existing statute last amended in 2011.