Always collect all the evidence as it will help you later if you need to go court

Enforcement Of Texas Child Visitation Court Order

Reading Time: 4 minutes

It’s hard enough trying to maintain your relationship with your kids on a limited visitation schedule. It can be an incredibly frustrating experience dealing with an uncooperative ex who denies you court-ordered visitation. Fortunately, there are options for you when it comes to the enforcement of child visitation orders. If you’ve exhausted all attempts to resolve the issue outside of legal action, you can ask the court to enforce the order and give you your visitation rights.

Attempt To Settle The Issue 

Often, the court will expect you to show that you’ve made an effort to settle the visitation issue with the custodial parent before going to the court for visitation enforcement. Sometimes the other parent might have a legitimate reason and working things out amicably is a key part of co-parenting.

Get Help From The Domestic Relations Office (DRO)

Your county might have a Domestic Relations Office that you can ask for help when enforcing the court order. As the non-custodial parent, you must document a minimum number of attempts to comply with your visitation schedule. In each instance, you should have been denied access to your child.

Modify Your Visitation Order

The judge will likely take the decision that is in the child’s best interests in terms of visitation
The judge will make the decision that is in the child’s best interests in terms of visitation

If either or both parents are having difficulty when attempting to follow the existing order, they may want to discuss coming up with an alternative arrangement. If parents cannot come to an agreement, asking the judge to approve modification of the order may be the best option. 

The judge will likely take the decision that is in the child’s best interests.

Have Your Attorney Send A Letter

You may be able to have your attorney send a lawyer’s letter to the other person if they refuse to cooperate in allowing you your court-ordered visitation.

If nothing seems to work, make sure you start keeping track of the dates and times when denial of visitation occurred in a journal. Record any reasons given. Save any messages you have indicated that you were at the pre-agreed location at the pre-agreed time but your ex was not there to perform the exchange of your child. 

The evidence you collect can help you build your case if you end up having to go to court. 

Seeking Enforcement of a Child Visitation Court Order

Your lawyer may file a motion to enforce with district or county courts. This will request the judge to require the other party to follow the terms of the custody order so that you get your right to your parenting time. The evidence you have collected will be useful to support your argument and convince the judge to help. A child support court cannot handle these issues.

The court may also require your ex to give you make-up time for the days where you were denied your visitation. 

An experienced attorney will be able to advise you on the best way to present your case. In some cases, you can press contempt charges against the other party for denial of visitation, or seek to modify the custody order if you believe the other parent regularly breaches the existing custody orders.

Contempt Proceedings

In contempt proceedings, parents must appear in court.
In contempt proceedings, parents must appear in court.

Your lawyer may advise you to initiate a civil contempt hearing by filing a motion. Once you’ve filed, the other parent will have to be notified. Once notified, the other parent must appear in court with the child.

You can only petition the court to start contempt proceedings if you can show that one parent willfully and deliberately refused to comply with the court order. If the courts find in your favor, they can order that the other parent serve jail time or provide compensation.

Writ of Habeas Corpus

Your other option is to seek a Writ of Habeas Corpus if the other parent refuses to turn over the child to you. However, it is not a long-term solution if your ex constantly violates custody orders.

Can Police Enforce A Child Custody Visitation Order?

A visitation order is enforceable by local officers. However, they generally hesitate to get involved in what they see as a civil matter.

If there are criminal matters involved such as the threat of abuse that is not in the child’s best interests, the police may find it necessary to get involved to protect the children.

Enforce Your Rights

Child visitation is a complicated area of family law primarily because it is susceptible to changing life situations. Attorney Sean Lynch has represented hundreds of successful child visitation cases and is ready to fight for your rights.
Child visitation is a complicated area of family law primarily because it is susceptible to changing life situations. Attorney Sean Lynch has represented hundreds of successful child visitation cases and is ready to fight for your rights.

The award-winning family law experts at Sean Lynch + Associates take pride in fighting for the rights of families in court. Don’t lose access to your children and we can help you file a legal motion to enforce. 

Contact us today for a no-cost case review.

Child Custody And Visitation During Texas School Opening

Reading Time: 4 minutes
A woman and a child wearing masks.
Consult your attorney before you make any changes to your custody arrangement.

Throughout the Covid-19 global pandemic, you and your children have played it safe. You have only gone out for the essentials. You have worn your masks and kept socially distant. For child custody and visitation exchanges, you spoke to your ex, who is taking the same care. So far, visitation hasn’t been very stressful. But now that schools are reopening, new threats and anxieties threaten to jeopardize everything you’ve worked so hard to protect. In light of these new challenges, what are some child custody risks related to visitation you should consider? 

Be Aware of the Risks From School Reopening

First and foremost, health concerns are impacting visitation and child custody during the reopening of schools. You, your children, or your ex may have underlying health conditions that might affect their level of concern about COVID-19 visitation dangers. 

You might also run into the visitation issue of a parent or child being under quarantine due to possible exposure or even a positive virus test. Obviously, this can be a very complicated issue. If your ex still wants their visitation, what should you do?

If you have sole physical custody and the child lives with you, it might be an easier discussion to agree on new visitation and custody arrangements that will limit the danger of exposure with the noncustodial parent. You can arrange parenting time in the form of virtual visitation. This may allow the other parent to still get to spend time with the child.

If you have joint physical custody, the child visitation issue will become even more complicated. If one parent is under quarantine or has a positive COVID-19 test, a parent may want to protect their child. At the same time, you might be at risk of violating the terms of your custody agreement if you, as a custodial parent, are stopping your child from going over to the house of the other parent.

Make sure you clearly express these visitation concerns and worries to your attorney and follow their advice. The safety of your children should be your top priority, especially in the eyes of the courts.

Factor in Your Decisions About School

We have all seen how every person in society is making their own decisions about Covid-19. Some are not worried at all, and some are spending hundreds of dollars on personal protective equipment. Likewise, everyone will make decisions about what to do about visitation and in-person school attendance. 

Many districts in Texas are offering the option of remote learning. Even though you and your ex split up, it would be best for your children if you could try to come together on a decision during these difficult times. Try to reach a compromise that you both can live with regarding visitation.

But remember, no matter what you decide is best for you, when custody and visitation is concerned, it is very important to follow the visitation rules laid in your custody order. A judge will need to approve any changes to your order.  

Finding a Work-Parenting Balance

For some people, their career or business is their life. With many schools only offering a distance learning option for the first month or so, parents are having trouble balancing the demands of childcare and a job or business. These situations can be very frustrating to your child visitation because you or your ex might feel pulled in many directions.

Just ensure that you are following the child custody order relating to visitation and be patient. If you are having to work from home and watch your child, communicate with your boss. You are not alone. Let them know what is happening with your child visitation. Ask if they can accommodate your workflow, deadlines, and interactions with co-workers. 

Above all else, ensure that you review your child custody agreement with your family law attorney before making any decisions that might violate its terms

Modifying A Court-Ordered Visitation Schedule Or Custody Terms

In most cases where you want to make a permanent modification to a court-ordered visitation schedule or the legal and physical custody arrangements, parents need to prove that there has been a significant change in life circumstances or financial situations. Alternatively, you can show that there is abuse or neglect by one parent. This proves that the existing shared custody arrangements are not in the best interests of the child.

However, during this time, the family law courts are accepting proposals for temporary changes to court-ordered schedules. This can include a modification to visitation rights such as temporary suspension of joint physical custody, although parents would still share joint legal custody. You can ask the judge to order supervised visitation if that will be in the child’s best interest. You may need to provide a reason for the need for supervised visitation.

Sometimes, you might have to temporarily modify the frequency of visitation rights or ask for a change in schedule. In cases where one parent has tested positive for COVID-19 or is under quarantine, you may have to temporarily request a change in custody of a child. This can happen if one parent has sole custody and you want to get your child to live with you. You can also temporarily ask for sole custody if you currently have joint custody.

If you need to modify existing physical custody or legal custody terms, you may need the help of a lawyer. Alternatively, you may want to seek advice from a lawyer on whether your current plans with the other parent violate the terms of the court-ordered arrangement. The family law experts at Sean Lynch + Associates are here to help.

Contact us today for a no-cost case review.