What Constitutes Child Abandonment in TX?
If you are a parent, find out what actions can be considered child abandonment.
Most Texas parents want to do what is best for their children. They feed them, provide them shelter, and care for their medical needs. But not all mothers and fathers make their children a priority.
Child abandonment is a family law issue that parents need to be aware of. Some parents overtly abandon their children, purposely leaving them home alone or in a deserted area without proper care.
Section 22.041 of the Texas Penal Code outlines the laws of abandoning and neglecting a child. In many cases, the laws go hand in hand. Under Texas law, child abandonment involves leaving a child under the age of 15 somewhere without providing reasonable and necessary care. It may also involve leaving a child in a place where no reasonable adult would leave a child of that age and ability. An example would be leaving a 3-year-old child at home alone for a few hours while the parent goes to work. It could also be leaving a 10-year-old on the side of the road. A person could face criminal charges if they were to intentionally abandon a child in a place where they could face harm or mental impairment.
Abandonment could also lead to charges of neglect. For the law to apply, though, neglect must involve substantial risk of material impairment.
So, what qualifies as abandonment or neglect? The signs include:
- Obvious malnourishment
- Lack of personal cleanliness
- Torn or dirty clothes
- Being left alone for long periods of time
- Frequent absences from school
- Not getting adequate medical or dental care
Punishment for Abandonment or Neglect
Parents are not perfect. Many try their best, but situations happen. A lot of issues have to do with money. Parents must work to make money, so they may leave their young child home alone for a few hours. Sometimes children do not get the medical care they need due to a lack of money.
While Texas law punishes parents for abandoning or endangering a child, there are some allowances. The punishments are doled out based on the seriousness of the charge.
Still, abandonment is a serious crime. It is a state jail felony punishable by up to two years in state jail as well as a fine. In serious cases where the abandonment placed the child in risk of bodily injury or death, the parent can be charged with a second-degree felony. This is punishable by a fine as well as up to 20 years in prison.
Contact a Pearland Family Law Attorney
Neglecting or abandoning your child is a family law issue that can lead to criminal penalties. You could lose custody of your child as well as face jail time and other punishment.
For legal matters like this, it is best to have a lawyer on your side right away. John Powell III, P.C. can help with your family law issues and get you the best outcome. Fill out the online form to schedule a consultation with our office today.