Taking a Child Overseas In Violation of a Divorce Decree Consequences

In Ex Parte Rhodes, 974 S.W.2d 735 (Tex. Crim. App. 1998), the defendant father violated his divorce decree by taking his child overseas. The father was found in contempt for violating the decree and was indicted for interference with child custody. In reviewing the elements of the two charges, the Rhodes court determined that interference with child custody required proof of a court order and its violation. The Rhodes court held that contempt of the court order was a lesser included offense of interference with child custody and jeopardy barred prosecution for interference with child custody. Rhodes, 974 S.W.2d at 741. A person commits interference with child custody if he takes or retains a child younger than 18 years when he knows that his taking or retention violates the express terms of a judgment or order of a court disposing of the child's custody. TEX. PEN. CODE ANN. 25.03(a)(1) (Vernon 1994); Rhodes, 974 S.W.2d at 741.