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This child custody dispute led to jail time for one father

Going through a custody fight is stressful. It's easy for Texas parents to let emotion overwhelm reason during child custody cases. That said, parents must set their emotions aside and follow the rules of the court if they are unable to work things out and reach a settlement on their own. As one man found, failure to follow the rules can come with serious punitive measures. 

The man was at his county courthouse to attend a custody conference with his former wife. He decided to use his cell phone to record that meeting. Unfortunately, there were signs posted throughout the building advising visitors that the use of cell phones was prohibited. 

When a court worker noticed that the man was using his cell phone to record the proceeding, a sheriff's deputy was called. The man left the building before the deputy arrived. He then posted the recording on Facebook. His arrest took place shortly thereafter. 

He was sentenced to between 11 and 23 months in prison for recording the meeting. He appealed, but the higher court upheld the decision. Even though the man claims that he was unaware that his actions were in violation of the law, the prosecutor in the case only had to prove that the violation took place, without considering intent.

As this case demonstrates, following the rules of the court is absolutely imperative. That is true in Texas and across the nation. Moving through a child custody fight is stressful enough without adding jail time to the equation. 

Source:, "Dad deserves jail term for recording child custody hearing, Pa. court says", Matt Miller, Jan. 4, 2018

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