Helpful Documents And Actions You Can Take For Your Enforcement Case Include:
One of the suggestions I make to clients and potential clients is that perhaps they should start their visitation enforcement case by first sending a demand letter to the other parent. My experience is that is can sometimes be the quickest and easiest way to getting visitation going again.
This letter can either be written by the parent or an attorney representing the parent. Typically, the letter will:
Differences For Child Support Enforcement
Child support violations are separate legal issues from custody violations. Even if the other parent denies you your time with the child, you must pay support as ordered. Furthermore, a judge will not eliminate parenting time for a parent who fails to pay child support.
All states have child support enforcement programs, often within a human services department. If you don’t receive child support as ordered by the court, reach out to your local enforcement program.
Continue to follow all custody and support orders while trying to get the other parent to comply.
If I Am The Sole Managing Conservator Does That Mean The Other Parent Does Not Have Any Rights
In most family cases, a parent of a child, whether sole, joint, or a possessory conservator, has the following rights and duties at all times:
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What Happens When Texas Parents Violate A Custody Order
One of the most upsetting family law issues Texans face is child custody. And it is not just determining custody that presents challenges: enforcing custody orders can also be problematic.
If you have a custody order in place, you should know what happens when someone violates a court order.
What constitutes a violation?
There are many ways a person could violate or interfere with a custody order. Some of the more common violations include:
- Refusing to bring the child back to the parent
- Failing to show up for custody exchanges
- Taking the child out of the country without permission from the parent and/or courts
- Engaging in prohibited behaviors around the child
- Manipulating a child in an effort to turn the child against the other parent unfairly
- Making educational, medical or religious decisions without having the right to do so
- Deliberately scheduling events to disrupt the other persons parenting time
A parent who violates a custody order in these or other ways can face serious consequences.
Custody enforcement measures
If a violation is a minor inconvenience or isolated incident that does not put a child in danger, parents may be able to discuss the incident and find ways to prevent it from happening again. Alternatively, a letter or call from an attorney may be able to clear up any confusion.
However, when a violation is egregious or persistent, official enforcement measures can be necessary.
Is Interference With Child Custody A Common Charge
Many police departments view this as a civil matter and may be reluctant to make arrests and file cases against feuding parents. The matter is sometimes instead handled by the family court where the child custody order is in place. In this case, the parent accused of interference with child custody, as well as the parent alleging the misconduct, should contact a family law attorney.
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How To Enforce A Custody Order
This article was co-authored by Clinton M. Sandvick, JD, PhD. Clinton M. Sandvick worked as a civil litigator in California for over 7 years. He received his JD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1998 and his PhD in American History from the University of Oregon in 2013.There are 12 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 100,388 times.
Interference With Child Custody
In contentious child custody cases, its not uncommon for one parent to withhold a child from the other parent. Perhaps they are behind on child support, or picked up the child up late, or maybe the child just doesnt want to go with the other parent.
Whatever the case may be, interference with child custody in Texas is not just a family or civil matter. Its a crime. In fact, its a felony to take or keep your child against visitation or custody orders.
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How Is Custody Different In Texas Than In Other States
In Texas, what most people think of as custody is called conservatorship. Chapter 153 of the Texas Family Code sets forth the framework for appointing individuals as conservators and granting rights of possession and access to a child.
There are two types of conservators:
Under the Texas Family Code, it is presumed that the parents should be named joint managing conservators. One of the most fought over rights is the right to choose the primary residence of the child.
The parent who gets to make this decision is often referred to as the primary conservator. You can read more about this topic in my blog article Child Custody Basics in Texas.
Communication With Your Ex
As with most family law issues, communication is key. Often the first step in resolving visitation disputes is trying to talk with your ex in a calm and logical manner. Although you may have already tried this method, it never hurts to try again. It may save you from having to go back to court or your child from additional negative effects.
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Background: In Texas Parental Visitation Time Is Often Court
Children do best when co-parents cooperate in developing a parenting schedule that works best for the unique needs of the children and their co-parents. Research shows that a healthy relationship with youas well as with the other parentis vitally important to your childs social skills, grades, and health. So even if there is a court order in place, parents can work together to create a schedule that works best for the child, as long as they are both in agreement.
But sometimes, co-parents cannot agree on what is best for their children. In those cases, the access and visitation court order becomes the schedule everyone must follow. If you have a Texas court order that specifies your access and visitation rights, then a judge has already determined what they believe is in your childs best interest. In other words, if a verbal agreement that you and the other parent had falls apart, you both must follow the court order exactly. You must carefully read your court order as every court order is unique.
If you have tried to resolve your co-parenting issues through other means, such as mediation, and the other parent continues to ignore the courts instruction, then you can file a lawsuit and ask the court to enforce the court order and penalize the other parent for their denial of your parental rights.
Legal Options For Visitation Issues
If your ex-partner is not willing to communicate in a civil manner, or you can’t reach an agreement together, you may need to take legal action and ask the court for assistance.
Keeping track of your communication as well as any dates you were refused visitation can be helpful information for your attorney when building your case.
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Is It Contempt Of Court For Not Following A Parenting Plan
Yes, you could be charged with contempt of court for not following a parenting plan.
For example, in Florida, parents who are filing for divorce or who are establishing legal paternity are required to file a parenting plan. Not following the parenting plan by deviating from a visitation schedule or violating shared parental responsibility by making ad hoc decisions that should involve both parents such as medical procedures or religious ceremonies can constitute contempt of court. Contempt of court is a serious matter, and so it is important that you follow the established parenting plan.
Enforcement Of Custody And Support Orders
Are you not receiving court-ordered child support or access to your children? Facing contempt proceedings for failure to comply? Texas courts take a harsh view of parents who do not abide by court ordered financial support obligations, or parents who wrongfully deny visitation. The attorneys at Pfister Family Law takes aggressive legal action to safeguard your rights.
The attorneys at our Frisco, Texas, practice represent clients in enforcement of custody order issues relating to .
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How Does A Court Decide Who Should Be The Primary Conservator Of A Child
The primary parent is awarded the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the child. There are a number of factors the Court considers when deciding who should be given the temporary exclusive right to establish the primary residence of the child at a Temporary Orders hearing.
Assuming both parents are fit, the Court is going to look at which parent has been the primary caretaker of the children. Some things a court will consider when making this determination include:
Generally, the way custody is decided in Texas is that the court will look at which parent has been doing those things most of the time, and unless there is a good reason to do otherwise, that parent will be made the primary conservator of the child. You can read more about this in my blog article, Who gets to keep the kids while the divorce is pending in Texas?
What Are The Consequences Of Violating Custody Orders
In Texas, there are various family law cases that concern a parents rights and responsibilities regarding the care, custody, and control of a child. Throughout the United States, the concept of child custody is represented by various terms. In Texas, custody issues are technically referred to as conservatorship. This article uses the terms custody and conservatorship interchangeably.
In Texas, orders regarding the rights and duties of conservators create legal obligations that can lead to severe consequences if violated. The violation of a court order concerning child conservatorship can be the basis of the following legal actions:
- A writ of habeas corpus for the return of the child
- A charge of contempt of court for violating the courts orders
- Criminal liability for the crime of parental kidnapping
- Civil liability for the tort of interference with a parents possessory rights
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Do Grandparents Have Custody And Visitation Rights In Tx
No, grandparents do not typically have custody and visitation rights, unless they can meet the statutory requirements, including:
1.) at least one parent not having their parental rights terminated at the time relief is requested
2.) overcoming the presumption that a fit parent acts in the best interest of their child in denying possession or it would significantly impair the childs physical health or emotional well being and
3.) the grandparent must be the parent of the child and that parent of the child must be either i.) declared incompetent by the court ii.) is dead, or iii.) does not have actual or court-ordered possession to the child.
Do I Need To Use A Guardian Ad Litem/custody Evaluator In Tx
In Texas, we typically dont use Guardian ad Litems, we more typically use amicus attorneys. A Guardian ad Litem and/or amicus attorney is often used when the children are under the influence of the strength of one party or the children are experiencing a great amount of change. It allows the child to have an advocate for their rights who is not persuaded by other factors.
Because the parties sometimes become wrapped up in side issues, it may be most helpful to the judge to have a third party neutral or advocate for the children come in and evaluate the case. Typically Guardian ad Litems and amicus attorneys are used when there is to be a termination of the parental rights, an adoption, or if there is physical/mental abuse.
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Enforcement Of A Court Order Resources In Harris County
Texas Family Code | Chapter 157. Enforcement View the full text of Texas state laws relating to enforcement actions under this chapter of the Texas Family Code. You can learn more about pleadings and defenses, procedure, and hearing and enforcement orders. The statutes also contain information about judgment and interest, child support liens, and habeas corpus.
Confused About Contempt? Prosecuting and Defending Enforcement Cases View a paper originally written in 1999 to discuss contempt in Title 5 cases but since revised extensively to include more about visitation enforcement and other enforcement remedies available in other types of family law cases. The paper was presented at the University of Texas School of Law Parent-Child Relationships Conference in 2010. The paper discusses what is enforceable and what is not, preparing a motion for enforcement, and types of contempt.
What Is Interference With Child Custody In Texas
Under Texas Penal Code 25.03, a person interferes with child custody when he or she takes or keeps a child under age 18:
- when they know it violates the terms of a judgment, a court order, or a temporary order
- when the individual has not been awarded custody of the child by a court of jurisdiction and knows that a divorce or lawsuit has been filed regarding child custody and takes the child out of the geographical area or out of the county without the courts permission
- when they take the child out of the U.S. to deprive the other parent of possession or access to the child without the other parents permission
- when the non-custodial parent persuades the child to leave the custody of the other parent.
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Examining Police Involvement In Child Custody Situations
- Being denied parenting time or a scheduled visit can be an emotional experience that makes many consider calling the police.
- Unless expressed consent from a judge in the language of the custodial agreement in that district, the police cannot enforce a civil order of custody.
- Law enforcement agencies are attempting to create safer environments for custody exchanges to occur.
“As much as law enforcement agency would love to help parents that are justified in their outrage of not getting to spend time with their child, it is not on them, but on the courts, to punish those in violation of the child custody agreement.”
With children, it can be difficult to determine how much of the ugliness of the divorce experience they have been a witness to. Even further, it can be even more challenging just trying to figure out how much they understand.
One of the more difficult situations to explain to a child is when police become involved in the child custody facilitation, in order to ensure the enforcement of the court order.
Will Police Enforce A Child Custody Order
This is a common question, but it doesnt have a clear answer. What happens depends on the police. Technically, if you have a court order that prohibits or requires certain actions, like dropping them off at home on a given day at a particular time, then the police are legally allowed to enforce the order. In practice, however police officers are often reluctant to get involved in family matters unless the custody or visitation violation rises to the level of a crime like child abuse or kidnapping. If the other parent is several hours late bringing the kids home or you have other concerns for their safety, trust your instincts and immediately. Depending on the situation, the officer may direct you back to court, but if you do end up in front of a judge again, you will at least have the police report to help you make your case.
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