There is very rarely a simple answer to give when it comes to how to proceed if your child runs away from home. At the very least this is a scary situation for you and your family to find yourselves in. Having to contend with the uncertainty of when your child will return as well as what sort of help to get your child or discipline to instill in him or she can be one of the most stressful experiences That a family can go through. While many children have the thought crossed their minds about running away relatively few follow through with the idea and run away. What would you do if your child runs away from home?
This situation can become even more complicated if you consider the implications of your child running away after a divorce or child custody case. A situation where you and your child may not live in the same home only adds to the difficulties that you may encounter because of a runaway situation. Not only do you have to contend with everything associated with your child running away but you may also have to think about the steps to take when handling any legal consequences of your child’s actions.
When it comes to your child custody orders the overall impression is that they were created with the best interest of your child at heart. Whether your case was a divorce or child custody case being able to manage the ends and outs of a child custody circumstance can be stressful even in the best of times. If you manage to create child custody orders that reflect the best interests of your child, then you should be proud of yourself. Many people are not able to put aside their differences from the Co-parent and do what is best for their child.
Now that your child has run away from home the strength of those child custody orders is going to be put to the test. No matter what your opinion is on the child custody orders, once the judge signs you are bound to follow them. No matter if your child runs away or not you were still going to be required to follow those orders. Whether you are the custodial or non-custodial parent you have certain responsibilities under the childcare City orders that you need to follow.
No matter if your child is dead set against following what is contained in those orders it is your responsibility to see that your child follows through with them. It is not your child who is subject to penalties from a family court for violating the court order, but you stand in a position where you may be panelized, find, or otherwise held accountable for a violation of those orders. The specific circumstances you find yourself in will be considered but overall, a violation of a court order is not something that you want to willingly do.
So what would happen if he were the non-custodial parent of a child inside your little one run away from home in an attempt to live with you on a full-time basis? Could you simply take the child in and not tell the primary Conservatory? What if your child was concerned about something in the primary conservator’s home and you wanted to respect your child’s privacy? What would you do in that situation and what options do you have to consider if your child runs away from home to your house? Should you tell anyone? Should you try to contact your Co-parent?
An emergency regarding abuse or neglect
One of the unfortunate realities of your child’s situation is that he or she could have been the victim of abuse or neglect at the hands of your Co-parent or someone that lives with him or her. This can be a helpless feeling for many parents who otherwise are unable to always protect their child when he or she is at the home of their Co-parent. There is a certain amount of trust you place in the other parent to be able to take care of your child when he or she is with that parent. If you cannot feel confident about the ability of your Co-parent to protect your child, then this is a troubling position to find yourself in.
Getting back to the topic at hand if your child comes to you and refuses to go to the arco parents’ home due to a concern over abuse or neglect then you should talk seriously with your child and consider what they are saying. Based on your child’s maturity level, age, and the nature of the complaint against your Co-parent you should consider talking to your child, speaking school officials, your Co-parent, and eventually Child Protective Services. If there seems to be a legitimate case of abuse or neglect, then you should contact Child Protective Services to ensure that they can investigate the matter further.
That still doesn’t necessarily answer the question that we posed earlier in today’s blog post, however. Can you keep your child in your home indefinitely even if the child custody order does not allow you to? This is the real question that you need to answer currently while you want to do everything possible to protect your child there is still the prospect of violating a court order that does not necessarily leave you feeling all that comfortable. For the most part, if you and your Co-parent have a good relationship you may simply be able to give him or her a call on the phone to determine the nature of what your child is saying. Could your child be exaggerating something or completely making it up? It’s completely possible. However, you need to be sure about this before taking additional steps.
While it is never possible to be completely sure about the nature of what your child is reporting to you it is certainly something to take seriously. That is why I recommend contacting the authorities especially if your child’s life is in danger. Next, you should consider speaking with an experienced family law attorney to determine what your options may be. It is wise to consider keeping your child with you especially if their physical well-being is at risk if they are returned to their primary conservator. Do you need to judge the potential risks of returning your child to their primary conservator against the risk of violating a court order?
An experienced family law attorney can help you look through the court order and determine what language is contained in the order that’s related to your situation regarding custody and what to do if court orders need to be modified at least temporarily. while the temporary modification is going on you and the attorney can figure out what you want to do on a long-term basis. In the short term, however, you need to focus your attention on why your child may run away and what to do given the scenario playing out with a child custody orders period it can be a delicate balancing act to try to do what is best for your child but also to honor the court orders that have been signed off on by you, your co-parent and a family judge.
What could motivate your child to run away from home?
When discussing the motivations of why your child may choose to run from their primary conservator to your home we are engaging in a bit of guesswork and speculation. The reasons why your child may choose to run away from home are particular to him or her. We hope that this should never happen to your family and that the thought of your child running away never crosses your mind. However, if we consider that you are reading this blog post on a family lawyers blog then there is good reason to believe that This is either a problem for your family or one that you anticipate becoming a problem. As a result, gaining some degree of understanding as to why your child may decide to leave the home would be beneficial for you.
One of the major changes that children experience because of a divorce or child custody case is oftentimes having to move and find a new place to live. We see this in circumstances where you and your Co-parent had formerly owned a home together but now have decided to sell that home as the result of a breakup of your marriage or relationship. As a result, your child may be at a loss as to how to find their footing in a new place and a new home. If the area where you used to live was beyond the budget of your family, then it is likely that the move occurred because of the family’s more case. This may have brought about a significant amount of change in a short period for your child.
Running away from home may have been an attempt to simply regain some understanding of him or herself based on past events and places. For example, if your ex-spouse moved far away from your old home but you still live relatively close then your child may have decided to run away to be closer to their old school, friends, or simply the physical location where he or she grew up. While an adult may say that you can never go home again a child does not understand this. As a result, your child is seeking a past that he or she cannot return to. Even if you believe that your child is better off living with you on a full-time basis this may still need to be a discussion that you have with him or her period namely, that even if your child is not completely happy with there are new living circumstances trying to escape to their past is not going to necessarily make them feel better.
Next, your child may simply want to spend more time with you but does not know how to express that to your Co-parent. Put yourself in the shoes of your child. Your child understands that you and your Co-parent just went through a difficult family law case. As a result of that family law case, your family has undergone some changes. As a result, he or she probably is not all that excited about sharing their true feelings about where he or she wants to live with your Co-parent. In a child’s mind, it is better to simply avoid the discussion in seek a change in living circumstances on their own. As an adult, this may sound silly as a difficult discussion will have to be had anyways. However, to a child, this type of reasoning can make a great deal of sense.
Again, as the non-primary parent of your child, you must abide by those court orders. If you believe that your child is in harm’s way at your Co parent’s home, then you can seek emergency temporary orders from the child custody court to keep your child with you until a hearing can be had to adjust the circumstances that you are concerned with. However, you can and should have a discussion with your child about the proper way to approach this subject. It is not easy to deal with these kinds of emotions and the circumstances surrounding them. However, it is better to approach these sorts of subjects with your child on their level. For instance, the discussion you have about running away with your elementary-age child may be a great deal different than with your teenage child. You know your family better than anyone and the type of discussion that would resonate with your child. Even if it makes you feel good in a way that your child would trust you enough to want to stay with you need to have a discussion with your child about the decision that he or she made and where you are going to go from here.
Another motivating factor that may have led to your child running away from your Co parents’ home to your own is because you are your child’s father, and he is a boy or you are the child’s mother and she is a girl. Some families notice that as the children get older, they express a preference for living with a parent who shares the same sex as they have. As a result, you may find that your son or daughter wants to live with you due to your sharing the same sex. Well, this is an understandable motivation and for your child running away from home is not the best way by any stretch of the imagination to set this plan into motion. There are several ways for your child to be able to spend more time with you and do not involve running away from home. You can have an honest discussion with your child about the impact of their decision to run away without harming your relationship with your child. It can take a degree of Playing and sensitivity in doing so, however.
I think one of the most common reasons why some children plan to run away and eventually do so is to do too a certain level of frustration with the rules or discipline that they receive at your Co appearance home. Many times, your child may find themselves in a position where they are seemingly treated better at your home. This may be since your child simply sees you less often and as a result does not react the same to your discipline as he or she does to the discipline of your Co-parent. You and your Co-parent may discipline your children in similar ways but the reaction from your child may be completely different.
One of the most important elements of Co-parenting is being able to have consistent discipline across your home and theirs. Communication in this regard with your Co-parent is important. for example, You and your Co-parent could discuss how you are going to coordinate the discipline of your child if he or she gets a bad grade in school or has any other problems associated with their behavior that you both find unacceptable. Rather than approach, this issue as one with the two of you must be divided you may choose to join forces and instead engage in Co-parenting that can reinforce good behavior and discourage bad behavior.
Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
If you have any questions about the material contained in today’s blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as about how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody cases.