The 85th Texas Legislature created a new law in 2017 called Unregulated Custody Transfer of Adopted Child, which makes it illegal to participate in, facilitate or conduct the unregulated custody transfer of an adopted child.
UNREGULATED CUSTODY TRANSFER OF ADOPTED CHILD ATTORNEY FAQs
This law was created by Section 3 of House Bill 8341 and is to be codified at Section 25.081 in the Texas Penal Code. The law defines adopted child and an unregulated custody transfer in Sections 25.081(a), and it also creates an exception in subsection (d).
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H.B. 834 created a suite of laws regarding the regulated custody transfer of adopted children, including the law making it a criminal offense to transfer an adopted child outside of these regulations, and the law takes effect September 1, 2017.2
Section 25.081 of the Texas Penal Code will describe the Unregulated Custody Transfer of Adopted Child law at subsection (b) as follows:3
(b) Except as otherwise provided by this section, a person commits an offense if the person knowingly:
(1) conducts an unregulated custody transfer of an adopted child; or
(2) facilitates or participates in the unregulated custody transfer of an adopted child, including by transferring, recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing, soliciting, or obtaining an adopted child for that purpose.
The law is penalized as a third degree felony,4 with punishment not to exceed ten years in state prison, unless the state’s attorneys convince a jury that except that you committed the offense with intent to commit an offense under Section 20A.02 (Trafficking of Persons), 43.02, 43.05, 43.25, 43.251, or 43.26, in which case it is a felony of the second degree.
2House Bill 834 at Sections 5-6
3Penal Code Section Sec. 25.081(b), as created by House Bill 834, Section 3, effective September 1, 2017
4Penal Code Section Sec. 25.081(c), as created by House Bill 834, Section 3, effective September 1, 2017