Documenting a Denial of Visitation Rights in Texas

If you have been through child custody or divorce cases in Texas, one of the most rewarding aspects of that whole process for you was likely confirming the times, dates, and locations that you will be able to spend time with your children. So much is up in the air during the case. Our clients have said that the worst part is not knowing what the future will hold for you and your children. This is especially true when faced with the challenging issue of denial of visitation rights. You’ve dedicated your life to raising a child. Then because of an issue between you and their other parent, all of that is in jeopardy.

Visitation, possession, and access are among the most highly contentious and litigated issues in child custody or divorce. The reasons for this are many. But perhaps the most important is that people, such as yourself, love their children and want to fight for them.

In reality, most folks walk out of a family law case with close to a “50/50” split with the other parent in terms of time. Still, if you can negotiate an extra weekend or holiday, then, by all means, you or any other parent would likely do whatever it takes to secure that spare time.

When the case is done, but the headaches are not

Suppose, then, that you have concluded your divorce case and the first weekend that you would be able to exercise visitation with your child is upcoming. You arrive at your ex-spouse’s home at 6:00 p.m. to pick up your daughter. However, the knocks at the door have no response.

Texts to your ex-spouse’s phone go unanswered, and you are left feeling disappointed, frustrated, and angry due. You feel like this is a denial of visitation rights. You begin to wonder if this will become a habit or regular occurrence. Do you have options to make sure this doesn’t happen again?

An Enforcement Case in Texas family law court

There is a legal remedy to the problem you encountered in the above scenario. An enforcement case allows you to file a lawsuit against your ex-spouse for violating the terms of your Divorce Decree as it pertains to visitation. Let’s examine what denial of visitation rights means.

It is not as simple as filing a lawsuit once you don’t get to see your child at the pre-designated time. There are rules in place that you must follow to do so and to help ensure your success in court.

For instance, if your ex-spouse texts you fifteen minutes before the scheduled start of your visitation period to say that he will not be coming to drop your child off, that alone does not count as a denial of visitation.

You must be physically present at the drop-off/pick-up location stated in your court order. Even if you know that your ex-spouse and child will not be there waiting on you, this is the case. It may sound silly. However, this is what you will need to do to have this count as a legitimate denial of visitation rights.

The reason for this is pretty simple- if you are not present at that spot at the correct time, nobody will be able to testify to the judge that your visitation was denied. You won’t be able to because you were not physically there. Your spouse will not have to testify against his interests either, so you will have no evidence to present to the judge.

The judge will need evidence regarding a violation of a court order, and the text you received will not suffice. How can you be sure that you have your “ducks in a row” as far as setting yourself up for success in an enforcement case?

A “Proper” Denial of Visitation

Correct Place / Correct Time

First and foremost, you will need to make sure that you are picking your child up at:

  1. the right time, date and
  2. location.

For this reason, you will need to have a copy of the order signed by the judge handy in your home. It’s not good enough to have a draft version that your attorney sent you early on in the drafting process.

Items could have been changed or added. The judge’s signature indicates that they signed the final version.

Confirm the Date, Time, & Location

Secondly, once you have confirmed the date, time, and location for your child’s pick up, arrive at the site in advance and wait if necessary.