Can a grandmother hide a child from parent and the law do nothing?

A father lost his wife in a car accident? The father let the grandchild stay with the grandparent while he was getting the funeral arrangements together and let him spend some time with them before he taken him away. He told the grand parent he would pick the child up on a date and the grandparent did not have the child there for pick up. The father was told they would give him to him then next day but again no show, and he can not find them or the child. They will not come to the door or answer his calls. The police says they can not do nothing? What can he do to get his child?

Asked on June 10, 2012 under Family Law, Texas


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Father can do two things-- and they can be done at the same time.  The first thing is to file charges for interference with child custody or kidnapping.  Grandparent doesn't just get to keep the child when there is a parent.  The parent's rights will always trump the grandparent's rights until there is some court order that says otherwise.  You need to go up the chain of command at the police station-- because dad can press charges for the unlawful retention of the child.  If the police still decide not to do their job, then you may only be able to rely on option number 2, which is to file a suit affecting parent child relationship type lawsuit.  Dad also needs to get temporary orders that grant him full and exclusive custody.  Do not wait to file this suit... you want to file it while your jurisdiction has still has venue.  After he has final orders or an order for a writ of attachment for the child, he can then use the orders to get the police to do something... because they do not have the discretion to ignore a court order.  Since the police have not been real proactive, you may also want to consider hiring a private investigator to find the child for you.  Once he finds the child, dad can just get the child, again, because his rights are superior to those of the grand parents... even without the court order.

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