As we approach the holiday season, time with your child can seem even more precious. But when you’re co-parenting with an ex, getting to spend time with your children over the holidays can quickly become complicated. If your ex has a pattern of ignoring your visitation schedule, you should know what to do to make sure you assert your child custody rights.

At Angela Faye Brown & Associates, we can help you enforce a child custody order to ensure you see your kids over the holidays. Call us today to learn more.

Understanding Your Child Custody Rights

Spending time with your child over the holidays is a top priority for most parents. However, when a relationship ends, you might find it difficult to split up time — especially on prime holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. We encourage all of our clients to consider holiday schedules when they create a parenting plan. Discussing these issues in advance can help you and your ex co-parent and can prevent hard feelings.

However, situations might arise where your ex wants more time and tries to pressure you into changing the custody plan — or even decides to violate the terms of the custody order without your consent. Before you agree to their proposed schedule, review your child custody order. If the order grants you visitation on a specific holiday, it’s within your rights to decline their request. And if you anticipate a problem this holiday season, consult with our office in advance. We can help you build a strategy that protects your parenting time.

What If My Child’s Other Parent Denies Visitation Over the Holidays?

If your child custody order gives you visitation rights over the holidays, your ex cannot ignore your visitation requests. However, enforcing a custody order is a legal process — you should never take “self-help” actions and try to take your child without the other parent’s consent. Otherwise, you might face criminal charges and lose your visitation rights.

If there’s a pattern of denied visitation rights, you have grounds to file a motion to enforce. You’ll have to show that you are following the custody order and your ex is not. Keep track of your visitation requests and your attempts to see your children. For example, mark your attempted visits on a calendar and keep texts, emails, and voicemails that document your conversations custody requests.

How Do I Enforce My Child Custody Order?

When your ex violates a child custody order, you can take legal action. However, this isn’t a simple or easy process. Typically, enforcing custody orders requires a series of steps:

Talk to the Co-Parent

Sometimes, a constructive and fact-based discussion with your ex can resolve the issue without litigation. If you’re unsure how to have this conversation, consult with a child custody lawyer. The team at Angela Faye Brown helps its clients with alternative dispute resolution.

Collect Your Evidence

When you’re enforcing custody orders, you’ll need evidence of the co-parent’s non-compliance. Your lawyer will help you build your evidentiary record and identify potential witnesses.

File a Motion to Enforce

If you cannot resolve your issues out-of-court, your lawyer will need to file a motion to enforce. This document outlines the child custody violations and demands legal relief or enforcement. Your lawyer will help you draft this document.

Notify the Co-Parent of Your Motion

You must serve your motion and a notice to show cause on your ex. This is a formal process where a process server or constable delivers the legal forms to your ex.

Prepare for Your Custody Hearing

Your child custody lawyer should educate you about what to expect during your hearing. They might also talk to your witnesses and help prepare their testimony.

Attend Your Hearing

At the custody enforcement hearing, both sides will have a chance to present their evidence, witnesses, and legal arguments. Each side will cross-examine the other witnesses. The judge might also ask questions about the custody violations and your attempts to see your child.

Review the Judge’s Decision

Based on the evidence, the judge will issue a decision on your motion. If they approve your motion, your ex will be found in contempt and you will receive some or all of the relief you requested. If it’s denied, your lawyer should help you assess your appeal rights and next steps.

You Need to Act Early

This process can take time to complete. If your child’s other parent already has a significant pattern of custody violations, now is the time to act. Custody enforcement actions can spike near a holiday. By acting earlier rather than later, you’re giving yourself the best possible chance to enforce your custody order in time for Christmas or New Year’s Day.

Contact a Child Custody Attorney to Learn More About Enforcing Custody Orders in Texas

If you need help enforcing custody orders over the holidays, we can help. At Angela Faye Brown & Associates, our top priority is our clients’ children and their welfare — we are truly a Kid First law firm. If you’d like to learn more about our services and approach to child custody issues, contact us today for a no-risk evaluation.