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Child Visitation Restrictions

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Experts agree that a child of divorce normally fares better when there is meaningful involvement of both parents in the child’s life. Even the laws and processes carried out by courts follow the same principle that relevant contact with both parents is in the best interest of the child. However, a parent’s behavior can raise flags as to the safety and wellbeing of the child. Some examples of such flags are when a parent forgets to pick up their child from school, or is abusive toward the child. In such cases a judge has the authority to restrict child custody rights of the parent by ordering supervised visitation or other restriction types.

When visitation restrictions are enforced a judge can restrict visitation in the following cases:

Violence – parents that abuse or threaten to abuse their children could lose their visitation rights. Courts in most states take any history of domestic violence into consideration when making custody decisions.

Emotional harm – if a visit by a parent is extremely upsetting to a child, a court at times can restrict visits with that parent. At times stuttering, bed wetting, poor school performance could be an indication that parental visits cause emotional distress.

Child’s wishes – in Texas, a child aged 12 years and above can state his/her wishes as to their custody preferences. Such wishes are taken into consideration by the court.

Mental illness – while mental illness does not automatically determine a parent unfit, where their behavior proves to be harmful to the child may result in restricted visitations.

Abandonment – a judge may limit visitation if a parent fails at establishing a relationship with a child.

Addiction – when the abuse of substances causes a parent to use abusive language, drive impaired or mistreat their child; a court may restrict or deny visitation.

Sexual behavior – it is very rare for a court to terminate visitation on the sole basis of a romantic affair between a non-custodial parent and a partner; however, if a parent’s sexual activities adversely impact the child a judge may cancel overnight visitation.

Incarceration – visitation rights may be suspended if jail visits negatively affect the child’s welfare.

Abduction – there is a high probability that abduction can limit visitation rights.

If a parent threatens to abduct a child repeatedly or has taken a child out of state without permission; a court can restrict visitation to prevent future abduction.

Courts restrict visitation through the following ways:

1. Shortening visits

2. Prohibiting overnight visits

3. Prohibiting an addicted parent from alcohol, medication, drugs during visits

4. Prohibiting an addicted parent form driving with the child

5. Restricting where the parent can take the child or who can be present during the visitations

6. Ordering supervised visits at the home or at other locations where the visitation takes place

7. Ordering substance abuse treatment and/or anger management courses as a condition to see the child.

8. Where deemed necessary termination of all parental rights to visitation and custody.

To learn more on child custody rights and visitation in Texas, seek out child custody lawyers in Houston.


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Michael Busby is a Houston divorce lawyer who has been in practice for over 20 years and appears daily in the Family Law Courts of Harris County and Fort Bend County Texas

Busby & Associates , have two Houston Offices, one in Chinatown, Houston Texas and another in Independent Heights, Houston, Texas. Michael Busby is Board Certified in Family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.