child visitation

Unenforceable Visitation Orders and the Monkey Business Behind It


An attorney who has expertise in divorce and child custody can help you. Of course, there are situations where you don’t need a lawyer, but most of the time, you do. Especially if the situation involves the custody of your children and the visitation rights that come with it. 

There are instances where one parent’s lawyer manipulates the words on the visitation order to favor them. This is particularly if they are the custodial parent and they want to keep your children from you. The provisions may include vague or unclear wording to make your visitation orders impossible to enforce, hence, monkey business. 

Exclusion of the General Terms and Conditions

Normally, there is a General Terms and Conditions section in visitation orders that specify important details on visitation. It contains the pick-up and drop-off locations, and return and release of the children to each parent. This provision removes the possibility of having unclear negotiations.

Manipulating the Standard Visitation Order

In most situations, the parents can design their own visitation order to ensure that it works for them. It can contain any condition as long they both agree to follow it. However, there are instances where the parents cannot agree. They will have to follow the court’s orders.

This would be okay, except that sometimes, lawyers can slip in unnoticeable clauses that highly favors their client, such as giving them full rights to decision-making regarding their children and keep them from their other parent.

Denial of the Visitation Order

A proper visitation order contains a General Terms and Conditions clause. This ensures your right to see your children. The time, date, and location are stated there to avoid wrong pick-ups and late returns. However, there are instances where the custodial parent will deny your visitation rights by being late or missing the dates on purpose. In this case, you can take the order to court given that the violations are well-documented.

In all these situations, the best solution is to return to court with a plea to modify the visitation orders in place because your co-parent keeps finding loopholes. If you think about it, this could all have been avoided have you consulted an expert before signing your final decree of divorce, because you never know if there’s a fine print filled with dirty tricks that will catch up with you sooner rather than later and cost you your children.

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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas.

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