If you and your spouse are splitting up, you may find that determining child custody arrangements is the most difficult part of the divorce process. In many cases, one parent is named the primary custodial parent who is responsible for the raising the child on a daily basis, while the non-custodial parent pays child support and is granted visitation rights.
During the divorce, Texas family courts will establish a visitation order which specifies when each parent will be responsible for the child. The court will ensure that the visitation order is in the best interest of the child, and in most cases, this means that regular visitations will be scheduled so that both parents get to spend quality time with the child on a regular basis.
Once the visitation order is finalized, both parents are legally obligated to abide by the terms of the order. Failing to comply with a visitation schedule can cause the entire family a great deal of stress. Common violations may include:
- Intentionally failing to show up for a scheduled visitation without warning
- Visiting without warning when a visitation is not scheduled
- Arriving late to pickup a child or dropping the child off late for visitations
- Refusing to cooperate
If a parent repeatedly violates the terms of a visitation order, the other parent may have legal options to enforce the order. The first step would be to talk to your ex and try to work things out without going to court. However, if this is not an option for you, you may file a contempt of court motion, to let the court know that your spouse is purposefully failing to follow the order. If the court finds your ex in contempt, they may face fines and jail times if they fail to start following the terms of the order.
If your spouse is purposefully violating your visitation order or ignoring it altogether, a family law attorney in your area can advise you on next steps.