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Enforcing a Court Order for Child Access With Less Stress

For divorced parents with children, one of the primary concerns is typically the child custody arrangement. Because your children are precious, you want to ensure that the relationship with your child is protected at all costs.

In Texas, both parents have certain rights and responsibilities toward their children, and the primary caregiver should make visitation arrangements with the other parent. However, if your former spouse is keeping you from spending time with your children, you should contact a family law attorney to help you file a motion for contempt or enforcement.

A court order is legally binding, so if the other party refuses to comply with the terms outlined in the order, you can ask the court to enforce the original order.

Learn more about the process of enforcing a court order for child access with the help of a family law attorney. Discover why it’s best to work with an attorney to reduce stress on your end.

Steps to Take for Enforcing a Court Order for Child Access

If your former spouse refuses to give you access to your child, you will most likely feel a great deal of frustration (which is understandable). Sometimes, a court order is needed to protect your rights and your relationship with your children. But before you get the courts involved, you should try to work out your differences outside the legal system.

If you cannot reach an agreement or if your visitation rights have been denied because they no longer fit within your child’s schedule, you can file for a modification. Pursuing a modification will change the court order, but you must prove that there has been a substantial and material change in circumstances and that it’s in your child’s best interests.

Conversely, if you decide to go to court to enforce an order, you will need to prove that your visitation rights have been denied. However, you must provide substantial evidence to support your position.

The evidence will be crucial for proving your ex-spouse’s non-compliance. An attorney can help you understand what evidence to gather and determine whether to file an enforcement of the original order or pursue a modification.

The Importance of Evidence and Compliance

It’s a good idea to keep an accurate journal that outlines every situation where you have been denied access to your child (especially if you have been given a reason for the denial).

If the custodial parent informed you by phone or email that you will be denied access, it may not be enough evidence to justify the court enforcing the original order. But, keeping a record of all texts and calls related to each time you have been refused access is a good idea because everything adds up to prove your argument.

For example, if your former spouse is habitually late providing you with access to your child on Tuesday afternoons, you could tally the number of hours you have been denied access over a 6-month period to capture the totality of your loss. Even if your former spouse provides a reason for their tardiness during each instance, you can still present a compelling argument based on the number of hours you lost from the other parent continually being late.

You can also support your argument by proving your own compliance. Even if the other parent fails to comply, you should continue to do your part by arriving at the appointed place to pick up your child at the exact time that has been ordered by the court.

If you’re refused access, it would be clear that your former spouse is defying the court order. If possible, you should take someone with you who can serve as a witness. You should try to make sure this person is an impartial party, as they may be asked to testify in court if necessary.

Overall, your journal capturing the non-denial should include the following information about how your parenting time was negatively impacted:

  • Dates and times of each denial.
  • Any reasons that were given for the denial.
  • The circumstances of each denial (e.g. the door wasn’t answered or you were told to go away).
  • Names of any witnesses to the denial.
  • Length of time you were denied access.

Reduce Your Burden with the Support of a Family Law Attorney

If you’re having trouble enforcing a court order for child access and are looking for a family law attorney to help, be sure to reach out to the team at Parker & Aguilar. We are well-versed in these types of cases and can help you with your visitation and child custody legal matter.

Our experienced family law attorneys will listen to your situation, help you understand what steps to take (enforce custody order vs. modification), help you gather the appropriate evidence, and represent you in court if needed.

We recognize the seriousness of your rights being violated, so we will work hard to ensure the other parent is held accountable, including pursuing contempt of court with the courts, jail time, and/or fines if necessary to ensure compliance.

We currently represent parents in Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, Galveston County, and Matagorda County. If you live in one of these counties, contact our Angleton law office at 979-267-7660 or our Sugar Land office at 281-944-5485 to speak with a local attorney about enforcement actions you can take.

Our family law attorneys are ready to defend your parental rights to protect the relationship with your child.