I am often asked can I enforce the court order to make the other parent exercise his/her visitation? The answer is no. You can not make a parent exercise their visitation. You can make the other parent give you notice that they will exercise their visitation but you can not make them see their children. The reverse is not true. You can be held in contempt of court, and jailed, if you do not allow the other parent access to the children during their visitation time.
This can be very difficult when the child does not want to go to the other parent's home. I had a client that had a 12 year old child that was bigger than her and he did not want to go to his dad's. The dad showed up for the visit and the child would not leave with dad. My client called the police to try and make the child go with dad and he still would not go. The police did nothing but advised the child that he needed to go. Dad filed a motion to enforce on mom, as it started to happen more and more often. When we went to court the judge told the child that if he did not go with dad, the judge would hold mom in contempt of court and mom would be jailed. The judge further told the child that he would then be forced to live with dad while mom was in jail. This had the desired affect and the child started going with dad. I am not sure what the judge did in this situation is the right answer or not.
I have had other judges tell the parent, trying to pick up the child, they need to solve the issues with the child and then the child would want to participate in the visits. One judge even ordered counseling for the parent and child. I have had other judges tell a parent they had the right to pick the child up and make them go with them, obviously, this was for a younger child and not a teenager. There are tough choices that have to be made when dealing with a child who do not want to go or a parent who does not exercise their visits regularly.
If a parent does not exercise their visits regularly a court can change the visitation order. It can be harmful for children to have a parent come in and out of their life. It is never good to have a child anticipate a visit and then for it to never happen. If a parent has not seen the child in long periods of time or the visits become infrequent the court could change the visitation order. It is always better to have both parents involved in their children's' lives. Both parents should encourage their children to love and respect the other parent. Further, parents should be an active part of the lives of their children. Most court orders do not say you can only see your child on your weekends. Parents should go to ball games, parties, and other extra curricular actives for their child even when it does not occur during their visits. Parents should let each other know when important events are taking place in a child's life and encourage the other parent to be a part of the event.
If you have a parent that is not exercising visits or is only doing so infrequently contact an attorney. If a parent is refusing to let you see your children contact a lawyer immediately. The Law Office of Robert E. Luttrrell III is willing to fight for parents that are having visitation issues. Robert E. Luttrell III is an aggressive family law attorney practicing in Cleburne, TX. He is willing to fight for you in Johnson, Tarrant, Denton, Elles, HIll, Dallas, Parker and other surrounding counties. Call today for your free consultation 817-645-6600.