As in many other states, mothers in Texas are often more likely to get primary custody of children in a divorce. Nonetheless, fathers have considerable rights with respect to their children’s upbringing.
These rights include visitation, as well as making decisions about schooling, where the children will live, their health care, and various other issues regarding raising the children. So what happens if the former wife decides to deny the father his right to child visitation?
Texas Law Protects The Rights Of Both Parents In A Divorce
Texas parental rights laws establish a policy that is intended to ensure that children have “frequent and continuing contact” with both parents. The law also sets the conditions related to sharing custody of children.
Visitation rights and custody – called “conservatorship” in Texas – are established by a court under Texas law. Once these are established, one party refusing to allow the other visitation as provided by the Court is, quite simply, violating a court order. If you are granted visitation rights, you have remedies.
In essence, “contempt” is violating a court order. Contempt of court is always punishable by a fine of up to $500 per violation, a criminal or civil sentence of six months in the county jail, or both. Judges generally do not appreciate those who come before the court having violated their orders, and they tend to punish such violations in one manner or another.
While imposing punishment for contempt of court is an option for any judge whose court order is ignored, in a custody case the court has another powerful option to punish a mother who violates a court order by preventing the father from exercising his visitation rights. In addition to finding the violating parent in contempt of court, the court can issue an order requiring the parent to return the child, it can hold the violating parent civilly liable for blocking the other parent’s rights to visitation, and it can even levy criminal penalties.
While it is not something addressed in a custody case, a judge hearing a related criminal case has an even larger penalty on the table. Interfering with a parent’s visitation rights can be a state jail felony, which carries punishments of at least 180 days in jail but no more than 2 years, a $10,000 fine, or both.
Further, on a more practical level for a pending custody case, if the mother denies the father visitation rights contrary to a judge’s order that grants those rights, the mother could lose her rights to primary custody of the children or have those rights severely reduced.
If You are a Father Whose Ex-Spouse is Denying Your Visitation Rights, You Should Talk to The Father’s Rights Lawyers of Orsinger, Nelson, Downing, and Anderson LLP
Contact Our Dallas Fathers’ Rights Lawyers
Being apart from your children after a divorce is a sad thing for most fathers. If your ex-spouse denies you even the court-ordered visitation rights granted by the court in your divorce, however, things seem to be exponentially worse. However, you have remedies. Contact the Dallas father’s rights lawyers of Orsinger, Nelson, Downing, and Anderson LLP to find out what those options are. You can reach us at (214) 273-2400. We have offices in Frisco, Fort Worth, and San Antonio, as well.