Can a father prevent a mother from seeing their child?

Spending time with your child in the wake of a child custody or divorce case is among the most noble goals for a parent. There is so much at stake in a case like this that it comes as no surprise that you want to be with your child as much as possible. Many parents fear losing substantial amounts of time with their children because of a family case. However, for the most part, this is not something that a parent like you needs to be worried about. There are a lot of moving pieces in a family law case, however. Today’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan will focus on those moving pieces.

Determining your rights and duties as a parent

In truth, a family law case seeks to establish rights and duties concerning a parent-child relationship. This is the crux of a child custody or divorce case. Understanding how your rights coexist and function alongside your co-parent is crucial to this process. For starters, parents are typically named as joint managing conservators as a result of a family law case. Joint managing conservators share rights and duties concerning their children. These rights and duties relate to possession, visitation, support, and daily care. 

How these rights and duties are divided up is what makes up the negotiations in a family law case. You and your co-parent have an opportunity to negotiate for these rights and duties throughout a case. When you are unable to agree in negotiation then the case shifts to a courtroom. A judge then is tasked with assessing the evidence submitted by you and your co-parent. The judge issues orders related to child custody, rights, and responsibilities. 

As you can tell, there are a lot of moving pieces when it comes to this subject. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan acts as an advocate for many of our neighbors here in Texas. We welcome you to contact us today for a free of charge consultation six days a week. In that consultation, we can answer your questions and go through information that is helpful to you. 

Determining custodial versus non-custodial parenting roles

The key difference between parents after a family law case is which parent has the right to determine the primary residence of the children. This means that the children live with you or your co-parent on a “full-time” basis. Now, this does not mean that the “other” parent does not also have rights and duties relating to your child. What it does mean is that there are two rights held exclusively by the custodial parent. These two rights are the most contentious oftentimes in a family law case.

The first of those rights is one we just mentioned – the right to determine the primary residence of your children. This means that if you are named as the custodial parent then your kids live with you during most weeks. For example, when your children are school-aged, they wake up with you at home on school days. Your co-parent, the non-custodial parent, has visitation rights. This amounts to the first, third, and fifth weekends of the month visitation. These are the hallmarks of a shared parenting plan under a standard possession order. Learning how to share custody time is a key feature of your life as a co-parent in a joint managing conservatorship. 

The other major right that comes with being a custodial parent is the right to receive child support. Child support consists of money paid from one parent to another to support the child. It reflects a reality that parents often see their children for unequal periods. It is natural, then, for the custodial parent to have a greater financial burden than the noncustodial parent. As a result, child support is paid to even out the costs and financial burdens of parenting. 

Life during a family law case

Are you currently going through a family law case? If so then you are at a stage where you are adjusting to life under custody orders. It is a strange experience to be told when you can see your child. Normally you get to see your child whenever you want. However, opening yourself up to a child custody case means a court gets to intercede in your life. The court orders matter a great deal when it comes to determining your rights and duties. These are the “playbooks” for you to use when it comes to parenting.

Looking at the course of your family law case it is easy to become frustrated. Usually, there is apprehension at the back end of that frustration, as well. Not being able to determine your future or that of your child is difficult. However, there are opportunities to take advantage of the time you are afforded with your child. Making the most of every opportunity matters when you are raising a child with a co-parent. That you are here on the blog for the Law Office of Bryan Fagan reveals how much this case matters to you.

Becoming acclimated to shared parenting during a family law case is critical in importance. Some parents spend the entire family law case focusing on issues outside of the well-being of their children. It is easy to find yourself caught up in the small details of a family law case. However, the better route to take is to look at the well-being of your child. Serving him or her is where you stand to leave your greatest legacy.

The best interests of your child

Looking after the best interests of your child is not only a goal but it is the specific legal standard a court applies to your case. The best interests of the child standard are one that allows a judge to utilize their experiences, prior family law case outcomes, and the circumstances of your case to create orders that suit your child. This is what matters in a family case. The best interests of your child consider several factors before applying them to your case.

Your child’s age, developmental level, medical needs, and educational needs all matter. When it comes to the life of your child this is where you can focus entirely on him or her. Their best interests shape the coming months and years of their life. You know your child as well as anyone. When you and your co-parent can put your heads together to focus on their well-being that is a best-case scenario for your son or daughter. 

The attorneys at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan know how to help parents like you focus their attention on the case. We know how your life is scattered and how difficult focus is right now. With that in mind, we do our level best to prepare you for what is upcoming in your case. We represent clients going through divorce cases with children of all ages. Additionally, we help people just like you who are going through difficult child custody cases as well. Whatever your family law needs are the Law Office of Bryan Fagan can help. 

Your best interests and the best interests of your child do not always align

As a parent do you think that you look out for the best interests of your child? I’m willing to bet that you do. Very few parents out there think to themselves that they never look out for their child’s best interests. When you have children, the natural inclination is to do whatever you can to defend them and prop up their best interests. That has been the case in your child’s life to this point. It will continue past the time of your family law case.

However, there also comes a time in a parent’s life when your interests are not the same as your child’s. Meaning- what suits you may not suit your child. What is in your child’s best interests may not be in your own best interests. For some parents in your shoes that is a difficult realization. Sometimes a parent will become defensive at the thought of their interests not perfectly aligning with their child’s. However, it is a reality for you to consider and think through. 

It takes maturity and patience to look through a family law case and to acknowledge that your child’s interests are different than your own. Spending as much time as possible with your child is a reasonable goal in your position. However, your child would benefit from having a relationship with your co-parent, as well. This shows that there is something that you want that your child may or may not benefit from. Realizations like this and the emotional components related to these realizations are what make a child custody case challenging. 

Preventing a co-parent from seeing their child

Put yourself in this position. You are a mother of two children. After a six-month-long divorce, your case is over. Now you are attempting to sort through the difficulties associated with transitioning to co-parenting. Raising a child with your husband was difficult enough. Ironically, things seem even more difficult now that your divorce is over with. How can you manage this relationship with a person you just divorced? You’re not sure but you know the well-being of your child hangs in the balance. 

Your ex-husband was named as the custodial parent in the divorce. Your son lives with your ex-husband during the school week. You have weekend possession every other week and shared holiday visitation. Standard possession orders for a noncustodial parent. All of this was agreed upon in the divorce. You wanted to have more time with your child, but this was how it all happened when it came to the life of your son. It was in his best interests to live with Dad during the week. This took some getting used to but you are putting forth an effort to try and live with it. 

In the first few weeks after the divorce, you all abided by the court records closely. You would come to your ex-husband’s house to pick up and drop off your child. Nothing out of the ordinary here. For the most part, your son has enjoyed his time with you and your co-parent. He always says how much fun he has at your new house. Spending time with him has made all the difficulties of the divorce worth the trouble. However, something has been happening that causes you distress in your life related to visitation.

How preventing visitation violates the court order

Throughout the past few weeks, your co-parent has not allowed your son to be on time for pick-up and drop-off. The court orders are very clear about the time and place for drop off and pick up during the week. However, now that your ex-husband has stopped making your child available at the designated times it has caused you to wait for hours at his home. Your son tells you that his dad will pick him up late from school and then run errands on Friday evening before allowing him to go for his weekend period of visitation. This does not sit well with you.

However, last week you reached your breaking point. Your ex-husband did not allow your son to come out to your car for your weekend together. You went so far as to knock on his door. No answer. You knocked again and still received no answer. This is a frustrating situation, to say the least. Instead of being able to enjoy a fun weekend with your child, you are now struggling with the idea of not being able to see him again.

When this type of thing happens, you have plenty of reason to be upset. You love your son and want to spend time with him. However, there are steps you need to take to fortify any kind of legal case you have against your co-parent. Here are some steps you can follow to help ensure that your ex-husband is held responsible for his actions. 

An enforcement case needs to be filed

It is not as if your ex-husband will be held accountable for his actions unless you actively do something. There’s something that you need to do known as an enforcement lawsuit. An enforcement lawsuit in the context of Texas family law involves you filing a lawsuit against your ex-husband. This lawsuit would be filed in the same court that determined your divorce. Within your petition, you ask the court to consider the violations of the court order regarding visitation. Specifically, that your ex-husband is preventing you from seeing your child is something that needs to be accounted for.

Specifically, the enforcement lawsuit needs to note the date time, and location of the violation for the court order. Also, it is not enough for you to simply assume that visitation was going to be denied. Rather, you must make yourself available for the pick-up of your child only to have your ex-spouse tell you that visitation is not going to happen. Providing proof of the visitation denial is somewhat simple. You can go to a local fast-food restaurant and order something in the drive-through. The receipt you get will show that you were in the area on the date and time you were supposed to be.

File the case in your divorce court

Once your enforcement petition is ready it should be filed in the same court where your divorce came out. From there, you have an opportunity to negotiate the case with your co-parent. He may be willing to offer you additional periods of visitation to make up for the denied period. Keep in mind that having orders from your prior case that are understandable and clear matters a great deal. A judge cannot enforce ambiguous court orders. This is another reason why having an experienced family law attorney matters a great deal in the context of a family law case.

Final thoughts on denied visitation

without a doubt, being denied visitation time with one of your children is a frustrating experience. However, additional steps need to be taken to preserve your right to visit with your child in the future. Not acting means that you are allowing the possibility for future denials to occur. The more you are willing to defend your rights and duties as a parent the better position you will be in the future.

Thank you for joining us today on the blog for the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys post unique and creative content every day so that you can gain a greater understanding of the family law world. 

Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan    

If you have any questions about the material contained in today’s blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free-of-charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. Interested in learning more about how your family is impacted by the material in this blog post? Contact us today.

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