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What to do when a parent or court denies visitation

Divorced Texas parents who don't have primary custody might be denied visitation by either the other parent or a court. Generally, a court will only deny visitation in rare situations. For example, when there is concern for the child's safety due to issues such as abuse or addiction, visitation may be denied. Even in these cases, however, a court may order supervised visitations or require the parent to take an anger management class or another action before visitation right can be restored.

Many of the reasons a custodial parent denies visitation may not be reasons that would be recognized as legitimate by a judge. Some parents might deny visitation because of the noncustodial parent's nonpayment of child support. While there are penalties for failure to pay child support, losing visitation rights is not supposed to be among them. Other reasons for denying visitation might include convenience or issues with transportation, safety concerns, the child's own reluctance to visit or a parent's dislike of the other parent's new partner.

A parent who is denied visitation can document the issue and try to speak with the other parent about it. They might take steps to address the custodial parent's concerns. Noncustodial parents can take legal action that may include calling the police and filing a motion in court.

However, before things escalate to this point, parents might have a parenting agreement to fall back on. A parenting agreement is a document divorcing parents can create, sometimes with the assistance of their attorneys, that outlines expectations around parenting. It may address parents' new partners, extracurricular activities, and plans for holidays and vacations. Parents might even build in a plan for conflict resolution, such as visiting a mediator, so that a dispute does not escalate to the point of needing a legal solution.

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