If your ex-spouse has blocked you from seeing your kids, we know how painful that experience can be. And although your spouse may have valid reasons for blocking your visitation rights, those reasons more than likely won’t hold up in court. Because of this, you have options.
If your dispute over visitation is minor, it’s best that you settle with your ex outside of court. The court does not look favorably upon parents that cannot handle settling minor issues.
Below, we discuss what happens if the custodial parent refuses visitation and what you can do to see your children again. To learn more, contact a Houston child custody attorney at The Alsandor Law Firm. We can help you fight for your visitation rights.
Reasons Your Ex May Refuse Visitation
Very rarely will the court deny a parent visitation with their child. The main concern for any court is a child’s safety and well-being. So, the court will only step in and block visitation if it decides that visitation will cause an emotional or physical safety threat to a child.
On the other hand, a custodial parent can more liberally deny visitation for a number of reasons. If any of these reasons concerns the endangerment of a child’s safety, then the court will allow it. For example, a custodial parent can successfully block visitation due to the threat of physical or emotional abuse. However, the reasons must be real. The court will not hold up denied visitation requests over scenarios that have been conjured in the imagination of your ex.
Most of the time, an ex-spouse’s reason for denying visitation will not hold up in court. Furthermore, these situations must be addressed right away. The longer you let your ex block your visitation rights, the more a judge will assume that you’re okay with not being with your child. It’s better if you talk to your ex and try to settle the dispute outside of court.
4 Things to Do Before Going to Court
Asking the court to enforce a visitation order should be your last resort. However, if you cannot settle your dispute by the third missed visitation date, then you must seek court action. Never let too many missed visits go by. The court will see your inaction in a negative light.
Before you go to court, here are 4 things you should do:
1. Keep Detailed Records
Whenever your ex denies you visitation, record or write down anything documenting your concerns. Keeping a record of every date and time your ex hindered your visitation could help your case in court.
2. Obtain Outside Documentation
Consider calling the police to file a report. A police report can be used as evidence when arguing your case in court. When the police arrive, show them your child custody order so that they can file a complete report.
Another example of outside documentation includes a receipt from a purchase at a gas station nearby the pick-up location. Make a purchase using your credit card to show that you were near the pick-up location at the right time and date. Another recommendation is to text your ex as soon as you arrive at the pick-up location.
3. Talk With Your Ex
The best thing to do is to sit down with your ex and ask them why they’re denying visitation. Schedule this talk at a public place away from the child. This way your ex can speak freely. If there is anything you can do to easily fix your ex’s concerns, then fix it. If your ex lays out concerns towards your child’s safety or well-being, then make moves towards fixing those concerns.
4. Seek Mediation
After talking with your ex, if a disagreement breaks out and your cannot reach a resolution, consider seeking the help of a mediator. Mediation allows a third, neutral party to help resolve disputes and issues. While mediation can be voluntary, the court can also order it.
Make Sure You Have a Child Custody Attorney If You Decide to Go to Court
What happens if the custodial parent refuses visitation and you cannot settle on your own? Then, you will need to go to court.
Before you file any court requests, seek the advice of an experienced Houston child custody attorney. Your attorney can help you properly file a contempt motion or modify the current custody order, as well as help you restore your visitation rights. If you effectively argue your point of view, the court can force your ex to make-up your parenting time or even pay fines.