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When parents can't refuse visitation

Generally speaking, noncustodial parents in Texas have the right to visit their children on a regular basis. However, custodial parents have the right to protect their children from physical or other types of abuse. In some cases, this may mean unilaterally putting a stop to visitation or other types of contact with a son or daughter. Of course, a custodial parent would need a legitimate reason to take such action.

Typically, the fact that a parent doesn't like his or her former spouse isn't a good reason to put a stop to visitation. The fact that a former spouse is in a new relationship is also generally not enough for a person to withhold visitation rights. The same may be true if the child doesn't care for the person that a noncustodial parent is dating. It is important to understand that child custody and child support matters are considered separate issues by a family court.

Therefore, the fact that a parent is behind on support payments isn't a valid reason to deny visitation rights. If a child is sick, the noncustodial parent should be notified so that a visit can take place at the custodial parent's house or at the hospital. Furthermore, vacations and other events must be scheduled around the dates or times that a noncustodial parent is allowed to visit a child.

The best interests of the child will ideally be the top priority when parents discuss visitation or child support matters. Ideally, they will be able to resolve disputes on their own or with the help of a mediator. However, if they cannot, a judge may be able to make a ruling in a given matter. An attorney may represent an individual during settlement talks or during a formal court hearing.

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