One of the most frustrating aspects of shared custody in a Texas divorce will undoubtedly be how one parent may wind up subject to the whims of the other when it comes to spending time with their shared children. When the courts issue a custody order, the expectant both parents will comply with the terms outlined in the order and work together in the best interest of the children.
Unfortunately, that is not always what happens. One parent may attempt to alienate the children from the other parent as a means of taking revenge after the divorce. Denied, or shortened visits or parenting time are common strategies for those attempting to undermine the relationship their ex has with the children.
The good news if you are currently having difficulty getting your court-ordered parenting time with your children is that the state of Texas can help you by taking steps to enforce the custody order. In order to request enforcement actions or go to court to request a modification of the custody order, you will need to document the denial of your parenting time.
The proper procedure for demonstrating parental interference with parenting time
The circumstances surrounding claims of denied parenting time often involve one parent’s word against the other’s with no real evidence, making it hard for the courts to take any kind of enforcement action. You can create a trail of evidence by documenting the times your ex denies you access to the children and having witnesses who can corroborate your claims in court.
Just having a text message or voicemail that proves your ex canceled the parenting time won’t suffice. In order to assert a denial of parenting time, you have to arrive at the location for the custody exchange as outlined in the court order. Even if your ex has already said they won’t be there or won’t let the kids go with you, you need to be there, or they can claim you just didn’t show up.
Bringing someone with you who can sit in the vehicle and or quietly listen to the conversation you have can help by creating a witness to the denial of your parenting time. When you arrive and your ex isn’t there or they refuse to let the children leave with you, point out that this is a violation of the custody order and your right to parenting time. Asked if you can reschedule, and if they refuse, make a note of all the details to later provide to the courts.