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When parents do not show up for their visitation time

Texas courts consider the best interests of the child when awarding custody and visitation rights. However, just because a judge says that non-custodial parents can visit their child does not mean they will. Failing to spend time with children could hurt their feelings, but custodial parents should consider the potential damage that seeking a change to the visitation schedule in response to a parent not showing up could inflict as well.

It is understandable that custodial parents might seek a modification to an agreed-upon visitation schedule when the non-custodial parent is not abiding by it. However, children might not understand why their mother or father would be allowed to see them even less than before. It is generally recommended that custodial parents do not seek a legal recourse but instead try to encourage their ex to become more involved through other means.

Even if parents wish to ask for the court's help in getting the other parent to appear during visitation hours, some states do not think it is the court's right to force parents to do so. However, a few states have statutes that provide forlegal remedies for this problem. A $500 civil penalty is one way a judge might encourage a parent to exercise his or her visitation rights. Ordering a parent to pay attorney's fees to the custodial parent is another way. A judge might also force a non-custodial parent to get a bond ensuring compliance with the parenting plan.

Custodial parents who are experiencing these types of issues might benefit from talking to a family law attorney. A modification to the visitation agreement may be in order in some situations, but the best interests of the child should be the paramount consideration.

Source: Findlaw, "What if a non-custodial parent fails to exercise his or her designated parenting time with the minor child(ren)? ", December 23, 2014

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Bruce Turner

In addition to his law degree, Bruce Turner has a master's degree in tax law and is Board Certified in Commercial Real Estate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

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