Tennessee Custodial Interference Lawyer

Custody Problems

If you have been charged with custodial interference in Tennessee, the attorneys at the law offices of Baker Associates will employ powerful defense tactics on your behalf.

Our experience can help you understand the complex legal issues and defenses when you have been charged with custodial interference. By investigating these issues and defenses we can often find weaknesses and inconsistencies in the government's case that help protect your legal rights. As a former prosecutor, Joseph A. Baker has the knowledge and experience necessary to properly defend those accused of custodial interference.

What is Custodial Interference?

Custodial interference is the knowing interference with the 1) custodial rights of a mother or 2) child custody determination or 3) court order regarding the custody of a child under the age of 18 or a person deemed incompetent under the law.

The offense only applies to certain persons related to the child or incompetent person. These persons are: natural or adoptive parent, step-parent, grandparent, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew. Persons who interfere with custodial rights not in the class of persons recognized under the statute cannot be charged with custodial interference; rather, these persons will likely be charged with kidnapping.

Custodial interference applies in three situations: 1) removal of a child or incompetent person from the state of Tennessee, 2) detention of the child within the state of Tennessee, and 3) harboring or hiding the child within or outside the state of Tennessee and knowing that possession is in violation of custodial rights. A family member who assists in the interference may also be charged if he or she acts with knowledge that his or her actions violate custodial rights.

Can I be Charged with Both Custodial Interference and Kidnapping?

If one of the family relationships recognized under the statute is present and an "aggravating factor" exists, a person can be charged with aggravated kidnapping and especially aggravated kidnapping. Aggravating factors include:

Aggravated kidnapping is a Class B felony, and especially aggravated kidnapping is a Class A felony.


The State must prove that the person charged had knowledge that taking the child or incompetent person violated the rights of the mother or the state. The Tennessee Supreme Court has held, for example, that a parent who takes a child in ignorance that a right of custody has been judicially determined is not guilty of custodial interference.

A person charged may also defend upon reasonable belief that the child or incompetent person is in danger. Thus, if a father who does not have legal custody removes a child from a custodian upon reasonable belief that the child is being abused, he can affirmatively defend against a charge of custodial interference.

It is also a defense to custodial interference that the person charged voluntarily returned the child or incompetent person before arrest or before the issuance of a warrant. Wherefore, a custodian may not press charges simply because a family member kept the child longer than that permitted by court order unless the family member has been arrested for the interference.

Moreover, while custodial inference is a Class E felony, it can be reduced to a Class A misdemeanor if the child is returned voluntarily.

Protecting the Rights of Our Clients

In order to strengthen the position of clients charged with custodial interference, attorney Joseph A. Baker and his associates receive the most up-to-date training available. By attending numerous seminars and colleges, including the prestigious National Criminal Defense College, each attorney at the law offices of Baker Associates will fight to see that your rights are protected in court.

If you have been accused of custodial interference, contact attorney Joseph A Baker and his associates to discuss your case.

To schedule a complimentary evaluation with a family law attorney at our office, complete the form below.

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Knox County
2126 First Tennessee Plaza
800 South Gay Street
Knoxville, Tennessee 37929

Phone: (865) 521-0001
Toll-free: (866) 853-2888

Sevier County
121 Court Avenue
Sevierville, Tennessee 37862

Phone: (865) 546-6000
Toll-free: (866) 853-2888

Washington County
300 East Main Street
Johnson City, Tennessee 37601

Knoxville Child Custody Lawyer Disclaimer: The criminal defense, criminal charge, arrest, defense or other legal information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor the formation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship. Any results set forth here were dependent on the facts of that case and the results will differ from case to case. Please contact an attorney at our law firm. This web site is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the State of Tennessee.

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