Reaching an agreement on custody and visitation can be the most difficult part of the divorce process for many parents in Texas. This becomes even more stressful if one parent believes there is a reason to deny visitation to the other parent. While courts may agree with this assessment in some cases, parents should proceed carefully before not allowing the other parent to see their child.

Family law judges generally believe that in most cases, it is better for children to have a relationship with both parents. Parents may have disagreements about certain elements of raising children, such as bed times, but this is not a good reason to deny visitation. However, another parent might be concerned about a child’s safety because of domestic abuse. A parent may feel that the child spends all the time with the other parent’s significant other and not the parent, or the children may not want to visit the other parent.

Parents should proceed carefully in these situations. For example, a parent is permitted to refuse visitation if the other parent is abusing the child. However, there is always a risk of a parent being held in contempt of court if the terms of the visitation agreement are violated. It may be best to consult an attorney in these situations.

There are certain situations in which a court is unlikely to find withholding visitation acceptable. One of those is if the other parent has fallen behind on child support payments. State agencies can help a parent collect these payments, but the parent is still supposed to have access to the children. In some cases, parents may need to seek a custody modification because of a change in circumstances. For example, one parent’s work schedule may change, or a parent may need to relocate.