Custody cases can be very costly, not just because of the dollars spent, but also because of the emotional expense and the time it takes from one’s life. Many times, a noncustodial parent will come to me wanting custody of their child because they have not been able to exercise their court-ordered visitation with their child. What I advise that parent to do is to follow the court order all the way to the custodial parent’s door. What does that mean?
Oftentimes, a noncustodial parent doesn’t exercise their visitation because they’ve received a text message or an email or a telephone call from the custodial parent telling them that they can’t visit so they don’t go to the door. To really enforce their visitation schedule and to utilize the rights that they have in their visitation schedule, the noncustodial parent must go to the pickup location for their child on the day and time the court order says that they are to be there.
Even if the custodial parent has told them that they cannot visit with the child. It is very important that the noncustodial parent be there at the day in time. So that later on, the noncustodial parent can enforce their rights using a mechanism called an enforcement suit. Oftentimes, a noncustodial parent can enforce their visitation by filing a petition to enforce and asking the court to hold the custodial parent in contempt of court for not surrendering their child for their court-ordered visitation.
This method is very effective in helping the custodial parent to understand that the noncustodial parent has just as much right to their child as the custodial parent. I am Cheryl Alsandor. I’m board certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.