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What parents should know about visitation rights

In most cases, noncustodial parents in Texas are granted visitation rights to their children. However, there are circumstances in which a judge will deny visitation to a parent. Typically, this is because doing so could put the child in physical danger or pose emotional or mental health threats. A judge could require that a parent complete anger management classes or participate in a rehab program as a condition of obtaining visitation in the future.

If visitation is granted, there could be conditions attached such as getting past an addiction or overcoming an anger problem. For example, visitation may be supervised and occur in a public setting. Custodial parents might try to deny visitation on their own for a variety of different reasons. For example, they may not approve of a noncustodial parent's life choices or be upset unpaid child support.

It's important to understand that child support and child custody are typically seen as separate issues. Therefore, parents generally do not lose visitation rights simply because they are behind on child support payments. However, they could face other penalties such as losing a drivers license, wage garnishment or spending time in jail. It may also be impossible to get a passport until a past due balance is paid.

The law generally supports parents having a relationship with their children regardless of how the parents feel about each other. However, a court will take the necessary steps if such a relationship is not in the child's best interests. Parents are encouraged to comply with court orders as quickly as possible. This may help them to obtain greater visitation or custody rights to a son or daughter.

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