If a divorce decree says that both parents have to provide a separate room for the child but the child doesn’t have it with 1 of the parents, is it legal for the other parent to keep the child from the offending parent?

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If a divorce decree says that both parents have to provide a separate room for the child but the child doesn’t have it with 1 of the parents, is it legal for the other parent to keep the child from the offending parent?

At least until there is proof of a separate room?

Asked on November 29, 2012 under Family Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Each component of a divorce decree is an enforceable right via a motion to enforce.  However, these components are not contingent on one another.  For example, if the other parent quit paying child support, the other parent could not withhold visitation.  The remedy, instead, would be for the spouse to file a motion to enforce in the court.  Similarly, if the other parent is not providing adequate housing, the remedy is to file a motion to modify or a combo motion to enforce or modify. 

The exception to this rule is if your final decree specifically provides that you can withhold visitation because of the room situation.  Withholding visitation without the court's approval can result in a counter-motion for enforcement and/or contempt.  Interfering with child custody agreements is also a felony offense in Texas.  So, your better option is to file a motion to enforce/modify to resolve the situation.


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