Under Texas law, both parents generally have custody rights with regard to their child. After a divorce, the parents typically work out a parenting schedule that respects each parent’s rights to visitation with their child.
It’s not easy to create one of these schedules, and it isn’t always easy to abide by one. Jobs, family life and other commitments can sometimes interfere. There are times when even parents with an expertly crafted schedule will have to make adjustments on the fly.
But if one parent is simply denying the other their rights to visitation, then there is a legal problem.
For the good of the child, court-ordered arrangements should be upheld. The parents should keep to the calendar they and the court have set up. There should be minimal friction and static, but it doesn’t always work out that way.
What to do?
If, for whatever reason, the custodial parent is not allowing visitation, or otherwise failing to honor the arrangements made, there’s a prescribed route the visitation parent should take.
The burden will be on the visitating parent to prove that the custodial parent is not in compliance with their agreed arrangement. To help establish this, the visitating parent must show up on time for any scheduled visit.
The paper trail
For every visit, it’s wise to keep a careful record known as a visitation journal, a template for which is available at texaslawhelp.org. In that journal, the details of each visit are recorded. In this way, a history is constructed.
An important part of this exercise is proving that the visiting parent did show. For every visit, then, the parent should gather evidence to support their claim that they showed up on time. For example, a parent might bring another person to serve as a witness, or make a purchase at a nearby store and keep the receipt for its timestamp.
The next order of business is the demand letter It should be filled out, signed, and three copies made. The first goes to the custodial parent by certified mail, return receipt requested, the second to the custodial parent by regular mail. The third is kept for one’s records.
Lawyers help parents enforce their rights when they are being denied visitation. These can be difficult cases, both legally and emotionally. It can be important for parents to seek out help from attorneys with experience in child custody disputes.