Visitation is the part of the court order that
defines when, how and where the non-custodial parent may have contact with
the child. Visitation is limited by the fact that legal custody belongs to
the other parent. This means that your visitation does not give you the
authority to conflict with the long range decisions and policies of the
parent with legal custody. For example, if the parent with legal custody
has decided to raise the child in the Jewish tradition, the parent with
visitation rights may not take the child to be baptized in a Catholic
There are no reported cases of a court
honoring complete denial of visitation for a parent. Even in cases of
abuse, the only reported cases have upheld supervised visitation.
Supervised visitation is when the parent is only allowed to visit with the
child in the company of another person. This person is usually a friend or
relative that the two parents agree will be allowed to act as a chaperon.
Supervised visitation often calls for a restriction of visitation to a
particular location and time.
Who can be awarded visitation?
Obviously a biological parent can be awarded visitation. Additionally,
grandparents (even when the parents weren't married or are not currently
divorced) and step-parents may be awarded visitation rights. While there
are no reported cases of brothers or sisters being given visitation, a
strong argument could be made that it would be in the best interest of the
When can visitation be denied? The
court has the power to deny visitation. Normally the court will only stop
visitation for a certain time or until a certain task is performed. For
example, the court has previously stayed visitation until the parent met
their financial obligation. Many parents feel they have the right to
stop paying child support, but they are wrong. Withholding of child
support will only get you in trouble and possibly arrested.
Long distance solutions: Technology
offers some innovative and creative ways for parents separated from their
children to connect. "Virtual" visitation is coming to be
recognized by the courts as a potentially important way to supplement
What if you fear for your child's safety
or just do not want to see the other parent?
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Supervised visitation protects the safety of
the child and centers are available throughout Texas. "Monitored
Exchange" programs allow the child to move from one parent to the
other without meeting.