If you recently went through a divorce in Texas and have minor children from your marriage, or if you separated from your spouse and have a child custody order in place, it might be necessary to learn more about enforcing a child custody order. Under the Texas Family Code, child custody is discussed in terms of “conservatorship” and “possession.”
In general, Texas law underscores that it is the public policy of the state to “assure that children will have frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interest of the child.” Yet even in situations where the parents appear to be willing to engage in co-parenting, issues can arise that require enforcement of a child custody order. And in situations where the parents have not been able to effectively communicate for the child’s sake, enforcing a child custody order through the courts may become necessary. If you need assistance enforcing a child custody order, you should know that an experienced Dallas child custody lawyer at our firm can help. In the meantime, we want to provide you with more information about enforcement under Texas law.
Using Alternative Dispute Resolution Methods to Resolve a Child Custody Dispute
If the parents are joint managing conservators, or even if only one of the parents is a sole managing and the other is a possessory conservator, the court may use alternative dispute resolution to enforce an order. Generally speaking, if an issue of enforcement involves a dispute between the parents, the court may refer the parties to arbitration or mediation if they have previously agreed to alternative dispute resolution.
Arbitration is a binding form of alternative dispute resolution in which both parties present their sides of the case and a neutral third-party known as an arbitrator makes a binding decision. Differently, mediation involves both parents engaging in communication to resolve the dispute with facilitation from a neutral third-party known as a mediator. Mediation is not binding if the parties cannot reach an agreement, and a dispute ultimately can still go to a judge for a final ruling.
Asking a Judge to Enforce the Terms of Your Parenting Plan
If you and the other parent have not agreed to alternative dispute resolution and you have an agreed parenting plan in place, you should know that the parenting plan functions as a court order. Accordingly, you can ask the court to enforce the terms of the parenting plan. You will need to file a Motion to Enforce Visitation. The other parent (who has not abided by the terms of the order) could face criminal or civil contempt, as well as other repercussions.
Of course, if you are concerned about your child’s safety due to the other parent’s failure to abide by the terms of a child custody order or agreed parenting plan, you should contact law enforcement officials.
Contact a Texas Child Custody Attorney
If you have questions about enforcing a child custody order or need assistance enforcing the terms of an agreed parenting plan, you should know that one of the dedicated Texas child custody lawyers at our firm can speak with you today about your options and can begin working on your case.
We routinely serve clients in Dallas, and we also have offices in Frisco, Fort Worth, and San Antonio. Out of 100,000 lawyers across the state of Texas, no other law firm has as many attorneys who have been named to Thomson Reuters’ list of Top 100 Super Lawyers in Texas. We are prepared to provide you with the assistance you need in your child custody enforcement case. Contact Orsinger, Nelson, Downing and Anderson, LLP for more information about how we can help.