Child Visitation When A Parent Has Been Displaced From His or Her Home
Hurricane Harvey affected child visitation for thousands of Texans because the exchange location is not accessible or as a result of displaced parents. Displaced parents find it more difficult to correctly exercise their child visitation. This disruption to life left parents struggling with daily survival and not focused on following on their court-ordered child possession and child access (child visitation). If the exchange location is not accessible it may be difficult to follow the possession and access court order.
Texas Governor Abbot and President Trump made Major Disaster Area Declaration for much of Texas. Parents must still follow their court-ordered visitation plan. Parents with questions need to seek legal assistance to help.
Harvey Affected Child Visitation
Many people have been displaced from their homes. Schools have been destroyed. Harvey affected child visitation making it hard to follow your court order without additional complications. When one or both parents have been displaced from their homes, the child’s safety could be of concern. The exchange location may not exist or is not accessible. So how can a parent cope and still property exercise the existing court order?
If worried about the safety of your child because of displaced parents, the concern is typically about the child's well-being. Some parents have been displaced from their home. Others, the location of their home has been devastated by the hurricane. Parents should voice his or her concerns to the co-parent. Working together in the best interest of your child is very important. This is more important now than ever. The Major Disaster Area Declaration and the disruption of life caused by the hurricane are not acceptable reasons to deny the other parent their visitation time.
The only exception is when a parent feels that their child’s safety is in actual danger. In a court Enforcement of Possession and Access hearing, the parent must convince the judge that he or she had a valid concern for the actual safety of your child. For example, not exchanging the child during the actual hurricane landfall may be a reason that a judge would find meets a standard of immediate danger.
Displaced parents may need to move more than 100 miles from the other parent. When this occurs parent should review the portion of your court order for the possession and access orders. Often there is a plan for visitation when parents move more than 100 miles apart. The dates of visitation and the exchange location often change from when the parents lived within 100 miles of each other.
Exchange Location Is Not Accessible
According to Attorney Carole Riggs, Harvey affected child visitation because in many cases the exchange location is not accessible. Parents should contact the other parent by text, email or phone to arrange for another temporary exchange location. The courts prefer for the parents to cooperate with one another This is important when making choices regarding pick-up and drop-off locations. Judges often determine the pick-up and drop-off location be the primary conservator’s (custodial parent) new or temporary residence.
Still, have questions about child visitation?
For additional questions, it is best to visit with an attorney. Text or call America Family Law Center.