After a divorce in Texas, one of the court’s top priorities is protecting the well-being of children. The court takes this duty so seriously that it developed the Texas Children’s Bill of Rights. The bill provides clear language about the rights of children who have two homes. The overriding goal: to protect the relationships children have with both sides of their family and prevent them from being caught up in their parents’ drama.
Highlights of the Texas Children’s Bill of Rights
Living in two homes can be confusing for a child. It’s even harder when their parents don’t get along. While getting divorced is a choice, protecting the welfare of children is not. The Children’s Bill of Rights establishes the rights reserved by children, and the rules that either parent must follow to defend them.
As Tarrant County family law attorneys, we know how difficult it can be when a child is dragged through a divorce. It’s often one parent who acts carelessly and makes the situation worse. If this describes your co-parent, contact a Fort Worth attorney from Sabelhaus + Lynch. Whether you need legal questions or services, our family law experts are here for you.
You Cannot Undermine Your Co-Parent
If the Texas Children’s Bill of Rights has a theme, it’s this: you cannot knowingly undermine your co-parent. For example, you can’t badmouth your child’s other parent or relatives. Additionally, you must prevent your child from overhearing arguments or negotiations about your legal or business dealings.
In other words, neither parent can actively attempt to make their child a partner in contempt after their divorce. You must deny these urges and cooperate to the greatest extent possible for the good of the child.
You Must Allow Phone Calls and Correspondence
Neither parent can interfere with communications between the child and the parent who isn’t physically there. You must allow the child to receive or access phone calls, letters and gifts from the other parent. The reason? To make sure that children who live in two homes are able to stay connected to both of their families at any given time.
You Cannot Manipulate Your Child
Neither parent may manipulate their children into thinking their other parent loves them less. Additionally, they can’t communicate moral judgements that aim to make their child think less of their other parent. Some parents do this hoping it will help in their child custody arguments/negotiations. in reality, this strategy often has the opposite effect.
You Must Permit the Child to Display Photographs
Children of divorce often take comfort in having photographs of relatives and loved ones nearby. Neither parent shall deny their children from displaying photos or other cherished mementos in their room. Parents must respect the physical integrity and personal space of their child and allow them to display reasonable items that bring them happiness.
Parents Must Support Each Other
You might not want to engage with your fellow parent, but the Texas court system holds that you must support them to the greatest extent practicable. In other words, you must cooperate with your ex and not deny your children’s wish to have a relationship with them.
Specifically, neither parent shall deny that their children should spend time with their other parent. And neither parent shall make the child feel guilty for having a positive experience.
You Cannot Encourage the Child to Behave Poorly
In some joint custody arrangements, it’s common for one parent to instruct their children to misbehave in their other parent’s home. Rewarding negative behavior in an attempt to sabotage your child’s relationship with your ex-spouse or their relatives will simply not be tolerated.
You Must Respect Boundaries of Your Child
Parents must respect that children are children. An adult should not use a child as an agent for gathering information, or an intermediary for communicating with your ex. You must respect emotional boundaries and refrain from making inappropriate comments about your ex that attempt to pressure your child or children into thinking less of their other parent.
You Must Be Responsible Around Your Child
Children have a right to be safe and free from exposure to illegal or potentially harmful activities. Specifically, neither parent shall permit their child to be transported by a person who is intoxicated due to consumption of alcohol or illicit drugs. Additionally, neither parent shall smoke tobacco products inside a home or vehicle occupied at the time by the child.
The Children’s Bill of Rights in Texas is very clear about protecting children after a divorce. If your ex-spouse is violating any of these laws, take action to defend your child or children. Contact our affordable Tarrant County family lawyers for a free consultation.
Violating Children’s Bill of Rights
The court takes seriously its duty to protect the welfare of children. The judge can impose harsh penalties for parents who ignore or violate the Texas Children’s Bill of Rights. Penalties may include costly fines; in some cases parents can even be held in contempt.
Failure to acknowledge and adhere to legal responsibilities could ultimately result in loss of shared custody or access time. This would likely only happen if the aggrieved party petitions for a court order modification.
Hire Experienced Fort Worth Family Lawyers
A parent’s right to protect their children is sacred and absolute. If your co-parent is violating your child’s rights, it’s important to engage an experienced Near Southside Fort Worth attorney. Our law firm will review your situation, communicate your legal options and provide you with top representation for a reasonable price.
It’s time to act. Contact us or complete the form on our site today to schedule a free consultation. You’ll be happy with your choice to consult with our award-winning Tarrant County family law practice.