What to Do if Your Child Runs Away to Texas?

Dealing with a runaway child is rarely straightforward. It’s a frightening situation for any family, grappling with uncertainty about when the child will return and how to provide the right support or discipline. It’s one of the most stressful experiences families can face. While many children may consider running away, few actually do. If you’re in Texas, what steps would you take with a runaway child?

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.

Navigating Child Custody: Putting Your Child’s Best Interest First

The child custody orders are generally perceived to prioritize the best interests of your child. 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.

With your child running away from home, the child custody orders face a test of strength. Once signed by the judge, you are obligated to follow the orders, regardless of your opinions, and whether or not your child runs away. Whether you are the custodial or non-custodial parent you have certain responsibilities under the childcare City orders that you need to follow.

Enforcing Child Custody Orders: Your Responsibility and Consequences

Regardless of your child’s objections, it is your responsibility to ensure compliance with the court orders. You, not your child, are subject to penalties from the family court for violating the court order. While the specific circumstances will be considered, willingly violating a court order is something you want to avoid.

If he were the non-custodial parent and your child ran away from home to live with you full-time, the situation would pose several legal and practical implications. 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 to 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.

Can you indefinitely keep your child at home despite the custody order? While your priority is your child’s safety, violating a court order may not sit well. If you have a good relationship with your co-parent, a phone call to discuss your child’s claims may provide clarity.

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. Considering your child’s physical well-being, it’s prudent to contemplate keeping them with you, particularly if there’s a risk to their safety upon returning 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 assist you in reviewing the court order and identifying relevant language pertaining to custody in your situation, as well as advising on temporary modifications if necessary. While these temporary adjustments are underway, you and your attorney can strategize for the long term. However, in the short term, it’s crucial to focus on understanding why your child may have run away and how to address the situation within the framework of the existing custody orders. Balancing what’s best for your child with honoring the court orders can be a delicate task, but it’s essential to navigate it carefully.

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.

Understanding Runaway Behavior: Reasons and Considerations

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.

Your child might simply desire more time with you but struggle to express it to your co-parent. After a challenging family law case, your child may be hesitant to discuss living arrangements openly. They might prefer to avoid the conversation and seek changes independently. Though adults understand the necessity of discussing such matters openly, children often perceive avoidance as a simpler solution.

Again, as the non-primary parent of your child, you must abide by those court orders. If you believe your child is in danger at your co-parent’s home, you can request emergency temporary orders from the child custody court to retain custody until a hearing can address your concerns. 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.

Addressing Child’s Desire to Spend Time Together

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.

Consistent discipline between households is crucial in co-parenting. Communication with your co-parent is key. For instance, you could discuss how to coordinate discipline if your child gets a poor grade or displays unacceptable behavior. Instead of dividing responsibility, collaborating in co-parenting can reinforce good behavior and deter bad behavior.


Facing the situation of a runaway child in Texas is undeniably daunting for any family. The uncertainty surrounding the child’s return and the appropriate course of action to take can create immense stress. While such occurrences are relatively rare, they demand swift and careful attention. It’s essential to remain calm, communicate with authorities if necessary, and seek professional guidance to ensure the child’s safety and well-being upon their return. Every family’s situation is unique, but with patience, support, and the right resources, families can navigate through this challenging experience together.

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 case.


undefinedIf you want to know more about what you can do, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: “Child Custody E-Book.”

Other Articles you may be interested in:

  1. Effective Co-parenting
  2. Texas Parenting Plans 101: Building a Strong Co-Parenting Foundation for Your Child’s Future
  3. Co-Parenting with a Narcissist: Strategies for Maintaining Your Sanity
  4. Child Custody Basics in Texas
  5. Are Dads at a Disadvantage when trying to win 50/50 custody in a Texas Divorce?
  6. Sole Managing Conservator in a Child Custody Case in Texas?
  7. Help!! My Ex-Spouse Kidnapped my Child
  8. How Much Will My Texas Child Custody Case Cost?
  9. When Can a Minor Child Weigh in on Custody Decisions in Texas?
  10. Child Custody Geographic Restrictions in Texas

Frequently Asked Questions

Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas Child Custody Lawyers

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding child custody, it’s essential to speak with one of our Houston, TX, child custody lawyers right away to protect your rights.

Our child custody lawyers in Houston, TX, are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, handles child custody cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, Houston, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County, and Waller County.

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