Often, we think that after a divorce decree or custody order has been handed down by a judge, we can just get on with our lives.
There’s a misconception that because things like visitation and custody are laid out in black and white, that everything will fall into place and we can begin healing.
Sadly, that’s often not the case for noncustodial parents in Texas. In fact, being denied visitation is all too common.
Can My Ex Prevent Visitation with My Kids?
No. Under Texas law, the custodial parent cannot deny visitation without a valid court order, unless there is documented proof of immediate danger. And even with documented proof of immediate danger, an emergency court order needs to be obtained.
They are also not allowed to reduce the frequency of your visitation with your children.
Can My Ex Prevent Visitation If I’m Behind on Child Support?
Again, no. Under visitation Enforcement in Texas, the custodial parent cannot deny visitation without a valid court order, unless there is documented proof of immediate danger. And even with documented proof of immediate danger, an emergency court order needs to be obtained.
Under Texas law, you get visitation with your children even if you’re behind on child support payments.
However, failure to hold up your responsibilities with timely, accurate support payments is critical and is punishable under Texas law.
Can I Withhold Child Support Payments If My Ex Withholds Visitation?
No, you cannot. If you stop making child support payments, you violate the law. Keep that in mind that child support and visitation are two separate things. If your ex is withholding visitation, keep making your child support payments and document the missed visitations.
What Do I Do If My Ex Is Preventing Visitation?
If your ex isn’t allowing you to see your children on court-ordered days, they violate the law. However, that doesn’t mean you can just call the police and have them arrested. It is possible to enforce visitation orders, but you need to follow a few specific steps.
- Hire an attorney. You will most likely have to go back to court to enforce the order, so an attorney experienced in Texas visitation/divorce law is your best defense.
- Make sure you have a valid court order, signed by a judge, that stipulates your visitation rights.
- Understand all the provisions in the order. If you don’t, ask your attorney for guidance.
- Document all denied visitation with pictures, videos, and police event reports.
- You must show up to the place you are supposed to have visitation at the time you are supposed to in order to enforce your visitation order.
Remember that you have rights as a parent under Texas law. Your ex or another custodian cannot deny you visitation for any reason unless so ordered by a court of law.