When parents divorce and one parent has primary custody of the children, the court typically orders visitation for the other parent. Family court judges in Texas believe children do better when maintaining relationships with both parents. But what happens when the parent who has child custody refuses to allow the other parent to visit with the kids, even though those visits have been mandated by the court? If the custodial parent has legitimate concerns, he or she can ask the court for a modification to the visitation order.
There are some legitimate reasons a parent might refuse to send a child to visit his or her other parent, including the following:
- Fearing for the child’s safety because of abuse issues, whether they be physical, sexual or emotional
- The parent has substance abuse problems or mental health issues
- The child gets anxious or upset when it comes time for the visit
- The child has been neglected or put into an unsafe situation
The custodial parent should understand, however, that if a visitation order exists, he or she could be found in contempt of court by refusing the other parent access to the children.
What to do if facing this situation?
If discussing and attempting to work out the concerns with the other parent isn’t an option, going back to court with documented evidence to back up the concerns may be necessary. A judge will either leave the order as is or make modifications to it, such as making visitation incumbent on a parent attending substance abuse counseling. A judge might also order supervised visitation.
Family court judges in Texas will always try to decide any child custody and visitation issues with what they believe to be in the best interests of the children. Parents who are caught up in any form of visitation battle or issue could benefit from the assistance and support of an experienced attorney. One’s attorney could carefully analyze the unique circumstances involved to determine the best course of action to take moving forward.