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How to Enforce a Visitation Order in Texas

 Posted on October 28, 2022 in Child Custody

frisco visitation lawyerParental visitation is a very serious matter. The State of Texas believes firmly that children do best when they have regular, supportive interaction with both biological parents – or, with both adoptive parents, as the case may be. This is why Texas courts have an elaborate system in place to ensure that court-ordered visitation schedules are enforced properly. In a typical scenario, parents develop a custody agreement, and as part of that agreement one parent has a visitation schedule. That visitation schedule allows the non-custodial parent to visit his or her child in a predictable fashion. 

The problem, however, is that sometimes the visitation schedule is denied or not honored by the other parent. Sad though this may sound, sometimes the other parent may attempt to block contact between the children and the non-custodial parent. In these unfortunate scenarios, how can the visitation order be enforced? Let’s look at the steps involved.

Step #1: Ensure that No Modification / Clarification is Necessary

The first step to enforcing a visitation order is to make certain that the order itself can actually be enforced. To be enforceable, the visitation order must be sufficiently clear, and must be sufficiently reasonable. In some cases, an initial order contains terms which are too unclear to be enforceable. Or, it might have terms which turn out to be unreasonable in a pragmatic sense. So, in some cases, the order itself needs to be either modified or clarified by the court before it can be enforced.

Step #2: File a Motion to Enforce & Follow All Requirements

If you determine that the order is enforceable as is stands, and you can document instances of noncompliance by the other parent, then the next step is to file a formal Motion to Enforce the underlying order. Within this motion, you need to include the following information: (1) you need to include the exact provisions of the order which you want enforced by the court; (2) you need to specify how the other parent has denied these provisions or failed to comply; and (3) you need to detail the relief you are seeking. You need to include all these elements, otherwise the court won’t be able to process your request.

Step #3: Explain the Problem & Present Evidence to the Court

As mentioned, you need to explain in your motion exactly how the other parent failed to comply with the visitation order. When you do this, you need to present evidence which establishes a pattern of noncompliance. You need to be as specific as possible, and you need to document more than a single instance of noncompliance. A Motion to Enforce isn’t something filed after an isolated incident of noncompliance, but a pattern of noncompliance. 

What evidence do you need? Typically, you need concrete evidence to substantiate your version of events. This means the testimony of a witness, or a police report, or a video recording, or some other piece of evidence which unassailably proves your case.

Step #4: Request & Obtain the Necessary Relief

Finally, you need to specify the relief you are seeking. Basically, when you file a Motion to Enforce, you are asking to court to provide a remedy in order to fix the situation. There are several possible remedies: reimbursement of expenses, fines, jail time, probation. The court will decide which remedy is appropriate under the circumstances. 

Contact The Ramage Law Group for More Information

Filing a Motion to Enforce seems simple enough as a concept, but the process itself can be a bit complicated. For more information, contact The Ramage Law Group today by calling 972-562-9890.

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