Divorce is often an emotionally-draining experience, so it is normal to breathe a sigh of relief when you reach the end. You might expect your post-divorce life to be easy in comparison to your marriage and your divorce.
Unfortunately, problems often crop up between ex-spouses, even after a judge has signed a divorce decree. Your ex-spouse might interfere with your visitation rights. Helpfully, Texas law provides parents with the ability to compel compliance with the visitation order, but you should meet with an experienced Galveston, Texas divorce attorney as soon as possible.
Documenting the Interference
First, you should fully document the reasons why visitation has fallen through. Your ex-spouse might have plenty of excuses, none of which sound believable—your child is sick, an emergency has arisen, etc. Write down every date in which visitation was cancelled and document the reason given. If you were sent emails or voicemails, then preserve those, since they are helpful evidence.
You also should show up at the drop-off point, which might be a point halfway between where you and your ex live. Even if you know your ex is not bringing your child, you should still show up. Fully document that you were there at the time and place and that no surrender of your child took place.
Filing for Contempt of Court
Second, you should meet with a Galveston child custody attorney to discuss filing for contempt. Contempt of court means that a person subject to a judge’s order is disobeying it, and judges have inherent authority to compel compliance. When an ex-spouse interferes with visitation, they flout two orders:
- To surrender your child at a certain date and time
- To give you possession of the child for the amount of time spelled out in the custody order
To bring your ex into compliance, a judge might:
- Fine your ex until he or she agrees to start following the visitation schedule
- Send your ex to jail until he or she agrees to abide by the visitation schedule
- Award you attorneys’ fees
- Some combination of the above
Many ex-spouses are shocked to find themselves in jail for a few days for not letting you see your children. Nevertheless, judges do take contempt cases seriously, since your ex is flatly challenging the judge’s authority in this case.
Speak with a League City or Houston Child Custody Lawyer
Parents are not required to suffer in silence as their ex-spouse uses the children as pawns. Instead, concerned parents should immediately vindicate their parental rights in court, including their right to visitation. To start the process, please contact Galveston child custody attorney Tad Nelson to schedule your free consultation. Call (281) 280-0100 or submit our contact form.