Case: ex parte G.J.M., a Child [Cause 83618] [Lamar, TX]
Result: Son stolen by mother returned to Dad
Stealing a child – even by a parent – is often one and likely two distinct felonies in Texas. Kidnapping and interference with child custody are separate offenses and not precluded by double jeopardy jurisprudence.
Here, a mother absconded with her young son from Lamar County [TX] to a remote area of Washington State. As in almost all paternity orders and divorce litigation, the Lamar County paternity order governing the home of this child had a 75-mile geographic limitation on how far away either parent could move him. When Dad would not agree to her taking the boy to WA state to live – she just took him. Didn’t tell him she was leaving or where she was going. At least as importantly, she didn’t go to court first….
After months of investigation, the family located her in a remote area near Tacoma and hired Haslam. Haslam succeeded in obtaining a writ of habeus corpus and an order to enforce possession and access to the child from the Lamar County court, sent the papers to local WA authorities and prepared to seize the child for his return. Wisely, the mother delivered the boy to them and he was returned to Dad as litigation began.
After hearing the evidence, the Lamar County judge ordered a switch in primary custody to Dad back in Lamar County, ordered mother to pay Dad’s attorney’s fees and costs and ordered mother to begin paying dad monthly child support.