There are situations in which some separated or divorced Texas parents may be concerned about the safety of their children with the other parent. This could be leading up to custody negotiations during a divorce, or it may happen after a divorce. Whenever it occurs, a parent should gather documentation to support allegations that the child is unsafe.

Judges will generally take these allegations seriously and investigate them, but they will also want to make sure a parent is not lying. Child protective services may become involved. Family, friends, neighbors and others might be interviewed to provide witness statements. If there are any relevant police or medical reports, parents should provide these. The other parent may still be allowed to spend time with the child while the investigation is ongoing although it could be only in supervised conditions.

A parent may want to take a child to a therapist who can support the parent’s claim. A judge might also order an evaluation from another therapist. If a parent believes that the other parent might cause harm, it could be necessary to take out a protective or restraining order. This could create serious consequences for the parent who violates it, up to and including jail time.

Navigating child custody can be the most difficult part of divorce for some parents. While a court attempts to act in the best interests of the child, it also works from the assumption that the child should spend time with both parents as long as the child is safe. This means that even when parents have profound disagreements about parenting, that disagreement is unlikely to sway the court if it does not endanger the child. Furthermore, it might hurt a parent’s bid for custody if he or she appears uncooperative.