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  • Writer's pictureBrandon Hicks

Understanding Indiana's Interference with Custody Laws 35-42-3-4: A Guide by B. Hicks Law

Child custody disputes can be emotionally charged and complex legal matters. In the state of Indiana, laws exist to protect the rights of parents and ensure that custody orders are upheld. One such law is IC 35-42-3-4, which deals with Interference with Custody. At B. Hicks Law, we understand the importance of safeguarding your parental rights and navigating the legal intricacies of child custody issues. In this blog post, we will explore the specifics of IC 35-42-3-4, explaining what it entails and how it can impact your case.

What is IC 35-42-3-4?

IC 35-42-3-4 is a statute in Indiana's legal code that addresses Interference with Custody. This law pertains to situations where a person knowingly or intentionally acts to deprive another person of their child custody rights. It covers a range of scenarios, and the severity of the offense varies depending on certain factors.

Key Provisions of IC 35-42-3-4:

  1. Removal of a Minor Outside Indiana: It is considered a Level 6 felony if a person removes a minor under the age of 18 outside of Indiana in violation of a child custody court order.

  2. Violation of Custody Orders: Violating a child custody order by failing to return a minor to Indiana is also a Level 6 felony. However, if the child is less than 14 years of age and not the offender's child, the offense is elevated to a Level 5 felony. Furthermore, if the interference with custody is committed while armed with a deadly weapon or results in serious bodily injury to another person, it becomes a Level 4 felony.

  3. Taking, Detaining, or Concealing a Minor: If a person knowingly or intentionally takes, detains, or conceals a minor under 18 years of age with the intent to deprive another person of custody or parenting time rights, it constitutes a Class C misdemeanor. If this action violates a court order, it is upgraded to a Class B misdemeanor.

  4. Mitigating Circumstances: A court may consider it a mitigating circumstance if the accused person returns the minor in accordance with the child custody order within seven days after the removal.

  5. Continuation of Offenses: The offenses described in this section continue as long as the child is concealed or detained or both.

  6. Costs Imposition: If a person is convicted of an offense under this section, a court may impose reasonable costs incurred by a parent or guardian of the child due to the taking, detention, or concealment of the child.

  7. Defense: It is a valid defense to a prosecution under this section if the accused person can demonstrate that they were threatened or reasonably believed the child was threatened, resulting in the child not being timely returned to the other parent in violation of a child custody order.

Child custody disputes can be emotionally and legally complex. Understanding the provisions of IC 35-42-3-4 is crucial for protecting your parental rights. If you find yourself in a situation involving interference with custody, it's essential to seek legal counsel to navigate the legal intricacies and secure the best outcome for your case. At B. Hicks Law, we are experienced in handling child custody matters and are here to help you protect your rights and your child's well-being. Contact us today for expert legal assistance tailored to your unique situation.

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