Almost any parent who has endured shared custody after a divorce will quickly tell you that the worst thing about ending a marriage is the loss of time with your kids. Split custody or co-parenting arrangements are great for kids because they help preserve both of their important parental relationships.
Unfortunately, shared parenting can be stressful for the adults because they have to continually interact and adjust to days or even whole weekends when they don’t get to see their children. After a few months, most parents adjust to the reality of shared parenting, but some people resent the ongoing presence of a former spouse in their lives.
One parent might cancel custody and parenting time with little explanation or warning, often without giving the other parent a chance to make up their missed time. If your ex has cut you off from access to the children, what are your options as a parent with rights established in a Texas custody order?
Start collecting evidence of the refused parenting time
Before you can take any sort of concrete step to address your ex interfering in the relationship with your children, you have to be able to prove that they have done so. Any time your ex cancels or shortens your parenting time as outlined in the custody order, make a point of writing down the details.
What they said, the reasons given for the cancellation and other pertinent information can help you show that this was not a singular occurrence but rather an ongoing issue as represented by a pattern of refused visits. Text messages, emails or even social media posts implying that your ex intends to undermine your relationship with the children can help you.
Try to resolve the matter directly with your ex, if possible
Sometimes, your ex may not realize how cancellations and other changes look to other people. They may not even realize there has been a pattern of denied visits.
When you have proof of repeated issues, you can bring it up to your ex and ask them to stop denying parenting time. You can also figure out the total number of hours you have missed and ask to schedule make-up parenting time. If they refuse to cooperate, then you may need to ask for the state to step in and help.
Custody enforcement can be a lengthy process
You’ll have to make a report at the local level to initiate child custody enforcement. The documentation you gathered about their pattern of behavior will help convince the courts of the issue you have faced so far.
A judge may order your spouse to give you make-up parenting time. In extreme scenarios, a judge may even modify the existing court order if they believe the denied visitation was an attempt at intentional parental alienation. You can’t get more time with your kids until you take steps to ask for the parenting time that you deserve.