Visitation Issues

Updated on July 25, 2009
A.C. asks from Houston, TX
16 answers

Hi, A briefing.. I am in need of some good advice.. is this possible! The father of my son agreed that he would have a 4 hr visit at my place/ supervised till he was 3 yrs old. He was ok with that the day we were at the attorney general office.. 5 months later mind you he has only gone by that agreement umm 4 times our of the 5 months if that.. and now he wants to modify changes to the visitation allowing him to pick my son up on Friday and return him to me on Sunday. Will the courts really modify these changes... ? Considering he doesn't even come on his weekends to visit his son for the 4 hours?
I am a single BROKE mom that can't afford an attorney. So if you do have an attorney that is dirt cheap please refer him to me as well. I will be darn if I let him take my son for a whole weekend! (My son is only 19 mo)

1 mom found this helpful

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So What Happened?

Thank you for all wonderful advice. I choose an attorney that is willing to work with me and basically I have nothing to worry abou. He doesnt take advantage of the time now.. Why would a judge let him take his son for a whole weekeend. I am not trying to be a mean person and keep him from his son, My door is open anytime and I will let them be!! I really appreciate you advice! Things are looking brighter and brighter everyday!!!

Featured Answers



answers from Austin on

Hi A.,

Gee this sounds familiar! I have just got off the phone with both of these places.

Lawyer Referral Service ###-###-#### (866-303-8303 toll free) This is if you can afford to pay.

Legal Aid ###-###-#### for when you can't afford an attorney. You can apply for this.

I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place because I make too much for legal aid, and I can't afford an attorney.

Good Luck,



answers from Houston on

There is a lawyer referral service that could help you if you meet their guidelines. Call this number ###-###-####.
They can advise you.


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answers from Victoria on

i am thinking that there is a reason why he agreed to supervised visitation. Just a thought if he is safe with your ex and will get his needs met. i know it would suck to have your son gone an entire weekend but if he is safe i dont see anything wrong with the father taking him. think about how much it sucks for him not being able to see his kid and only seeing him with you there...assuming yall dont get along. if you son is safe then its a tough situation but you have to do what is best for your son...all kids need a daddy.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Was the visitation order issued in Texas or California? That will make a difference--the way I understand it is that the original court maintains jurisdiction unless both parties petition for a change.

Despite some of the responses you have received, it is not always about maintaining control over the child or about fathers having equal rights or about the child support. Child support orders are issued separately from visitation in Texas--i.e. a parent can be ordered to pay support even if they don't have visitation and visitation can't be witheld for non-payment of support.

Some fathers are neither interested nor fit to spend time with the children they father--it is too bad that we don't always figure that out before we have babies. That being said, we have the responsbility as mothers to maintain the relationship the best way we can.

Yes, there is a chance that a judge could issue a "standard" visitation order if he takes you to court. You have a non-standard or modified order. The fact that he agreed to it less than a year ago will likely work in your favor. I hope that you have been documenting which visitations he has missed (if you haven't, start). Regardless of how HE feels, he has the responsibility to be there for his child.

It is not uncommon that children under three years of age DO NOT go for overnight visitation or unsupervised visits--especially if the father has not been an active part of the child's life before the split. For instance, my husband left while I was pregnant and never lived in my house with myself and my daughter. If you are breastfeeding, that relationship is also taken into consideration.

I didn't have so many problems, my husband never even bothered to hire an attorney or show up for court. I informed him of what I was requesting with regard to child support (less than standard) and visitation and he just signed the papers. That being said, I don't restrict his access (within reason). He is not allowed to leave with her because he can't be trusted not to drink and drive. He also is infamous for calling and asking to come and visit right about bedtime--I am the one who has to get up with her in the morning so that doesn't fly either.

When he DOES decide to show up...I let them be. I check on them, but I expect that he changes the diapers, bathes, feeds, cleans-up, etc. when he has his visitation. Just because he doesn't have custody doesn't mean he just gets to do the fun parts.

My advice is to try and keep the legal order you have today and work out some additional visitation that you both can live with. I suspect you are having an especially hard time yielding to his visitation since you had the opportunity to stay home with your child. Try to look at it as a little break for you. It isn't easy being a single mom--I love when he comes and I can just get some things done around the house!

Just a little semi-evil side note: If you don't feel he would be in danger by going with his dad overnight...try it out. Your son won't likely be traumatized by one or two rough nights but his father may decide that it just isn't worth it! People who aren't around children very much don't really realize how rough the nights can be.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from El Paso on

Don't know the details, but he is the dad. If the situation was reversed, would you want his dad to keep you from spending time with your son? Just a thought...

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on


I don't think there is enough information here to be able to give you much advice. But I think you should confer with an attorney, especially since you're in a new state and probably need some help knowing what the Texas law is regarding custody and visitation. Here is a link to lawyers who handle custody cases in Austin. I would call some offices, tell them your financial situation and see if you can't get a referral to someone who works with clients on limited incomes. I've also included the link to Travis County family court services. Good luck!


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I don't know if you posted more details here earlier, but assuming that he's not abusive to the child (because you haven't mentioned it here), you have to keep in mind that it is just as much his child as yours. Yes, this is a very young child, but he still has the right to parent his child without your input or influence. It's terrible when you don't get along, but that has nothing to do with the kid. It's possible that he doesn't want to sit in your home because he's not comfortable being under your thumb while he is spending time with his child. Even if you stay in another area away from them (which you probably do not), there is still the possibility that you could come in at any moment and express an opinion about their time together. YOUR house equals YOUR control. If you are willing to ease into letting the child get used to being with his father alone, maybe you should suggest that he take the child for those agreed-upon 4 hours and then come back. If you want him to realize his appropriate role as father, then you've got to stay out of his way and let him do it, even with trial and error. Do you get everything right the first time? No. Would you want the government or someone else standing over your shoulder pointing out your faults, telling you that, although you're the parent, you can't be one on one with your child until he is three years old? Seriously, how would that make you feel? Oftentimes, it's easier (and better?) for men to just stay away until the child reaches an age of majority, in order to avoid the rants of a disgruntled mother (for whatever her reasons are--jilted lover, divorced wife, possessive control freak, etc.). That doesn't make for a pleasant outcome, but we have to open our eyes to the roles that we play in this sometimes.

Women tend to believe that they have all say over their children's lives and welfare--definitely more than the fathers--treating their children like possessions. Maybe a father would step up to the plate if he didn't have to deal with the whims of an overbearing mother. I'm not saying that that's you, but there could be reason for him to perceive that from you. I understand the urge to take the reins, the feelings of protective ownership, but I have to tell myself to let it go because my husband is a good father. (That's why it's important to consider the father in a man before having a baby with him, because you have to trust his judgment when you're not around.)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

The only way to protect yourself is to have an attorney and a court-ordered visitation schedule. It doesn't matter what he agreed to in the AG's office. If he initiates such action, you will still need an attorney to represent you. Also, the courts will not stipulate supervised visitations unless the court determines it is necessary. Age of the child is not a restriction that will determine supervised visitation. You need to find a good family attorney who will help you in spite of your financial situation.



answers from College Station on

You can not make a father exercise thier rights, but you can make them go by a court ordered visitation, now if he wants to spend the money for a lawyer to tell him "no" then let him, there has to be a reason he is having supervisied visitation, i am a broke single mom and i have been there done that, my ex was to have his daughter alone without any visitors so he could reconnect with his daughter after the divorce and he never did, never exercised his rights at all the way he was to, and then just stopped all to gether, so hang tight everything will turn out right. Call the Attorney General all services are free.



answers from Houston on

Here are some resources for getting an attorney pro bono (for free). They can advise you or represent you if you need to go to court.

1. Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program

2. Houston Lawyer Referral Service

For more, check the "Resource and Referral Guide" on the Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program's website at For example, the Lone Star legal aid program may help.



answers from Houston on

there are free legal services available - call a women's shelter and ask them for a referral.



answers from Houston on

I would stick with the agreement and make him take you back to court. I would also document each visit missed. You are not keeping him from his son, you just want him to exercise the visitation he has now. If there is a reason why he had supervised visits, has that situation changed? If not, the court will not change the visitation. Call legal aide, they can help.



answers from Corpus Christi on

I just have to say document, document, document. It will help if he does take you to court. According to my attorney, if the father doesn't take the initiative to see his child when he's supposed to, then the child is not enough a priority in his life. Let him take you to court. You have your orders, so all you have to do is abide by them. Keep a notebook on everything regarding your child and him, ie. what time he gets there, how your child is around him and what time he leaves, etc. Good luck! They try to scare us with these things that they are "going to do." It's a control thing with my ex. He thinks that he can still dictate what my son and I do. He is dead wrong. He threatened to keep my son for the full 42 day summer visitation just to hurt me. Yes, he said that exactly. The visitation period is from July 1-Aug 11. So far he has taken him for a total of 7 days and we are already 24 days into it. Just document and follow your orders and you'll be just fine even if he does take you to court. The judge will NOT side with him - especially not until your baby is over the age of 3. Hang in there!



answers from Waco on

Hi A.
this can certainly be an upsetting issue. Did you get your divorce in California? Texas visitation laws are different I am sure- but all court orders can be modified- I would check with Legal Aid- and see if they can help- I am not an attorney but 19 mos is too long for an over nite visit in my opinion. I would stick to my original visitation orders and tell my ex that is what you plan to do. Unless he is wealthy- it will cost him a lot of money to get the orders modified as well........Texas family visitation laws usually call for overnite visitation every other week end....two to six weeks during the summer, father day, every other thanksgiving and christmas.......but if the courts ordered "supervised" visits there must be a good reason for that.
good luck and blessings



answers from Houston on

The first thought that crossed by mind was, who will be taking of your son when he is with his father for the weekend? I have friends who's exes insist on the the visitation time, but are not there the majority of the time. The child/children are in the care of paternal grandparents, stepmother/step-siblings, some other family member, or even current girlfriend. This seems like it would be an important factor.



answers from Houston on

You should point that out to the attys. Let them know that why should you allow your child to be p/u by him if he doesn't even come to see your child on the designated days/times. That shows irresponsibility on his part as well as an unwillingness to adhere to court rulings & a definite unwillingness or uninterest in seeing his own son. I'd definitly do everything to at least keep it as is & I'd also keep a record of actually WHEN he comes to visit y'alls son, that way you'll have something to present to the court in writing. Good luck!

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