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What can I do if I cannot honor the child visitation schedule?

The parenting plan that parents agree to during a Texas divorce is not written in stone. The child custody and visitation schedule are legal arrangements that both parties should make every effort to honor. However, there are legitimate modification-qualifying circumstances that can occur and make it challenging and sometimes impossible for one or both parties to uphold their obligation. Job loss or relocation, incarceration, disability and illness are just a few life events that can interfere with a parent's ability to see his or her kids. 

It is best to tackle any concerns regarding the child visitation and custody head on instead of waiting and allowing them to go on indefinitely.  

Communicate openly 

People are not always forthcoming about why they are having difficulty following the schedule. Job loss and illness are very personal issues that can bring about feelings of shame and depression. It is important for parents to remain as honest, open and flexible as possible when there are deviations from the visitation or custody arrangement. If parents are amicable, it is possible to work out an alternative arrangement via therapy or mediation that works best for everyone as long as the best interests of the child come first. 

Keep documentation 

Sometimes noncompliance is intentional. A parent should document every time there is an issue that results in a violation of the child custody or parenting-time agreement. However, it is important not to act on negative feelings and instead try and rectify the matter. Reacting could result in additional problems. If a child’s safety is an issue, a parent should file a police report and consider filing for a protective order. 

In some cases, it may be necessary to get the courts involved. Child custody and visitation arrangements are court orders that can result in stiff legal consequences if parents do not address them properly.

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