Withholding Child from other Parent, Withholding Visitation, and Gaining Child Custody

Board Certified family attorney Sonya Coffman answers the questions of Southeast Texas KFDM News viewers. These questions include:

  • Can a parent keep a child from the other parent?
  • Can you withhold visitation if you are not getting child support?
  • How do you go about gaining custody of your child?


last year the legislator passed a law that requires doctors to show sonograms within twenty four hours in advance of the undergoing abortion additionally the law requires physicians to describe the development of the fetus however in August of last year federal district judge in Austin upheld the sonogram portion of the law that barred the state from requiring physicians described the fetus on the grounds that requiring the positions to engage in government-mandated speech violates the free speech rights of doctors and patients Live at Five’s family attorney Sonya Coffman joins us now with more what does this mean in layman's terms well up until now the law was not enforced in Texas because uh the district judge in Austin said that you can't choir a physician to engage in certain speech however last week the fifth circuit court of appeals in New Orleans disagreed with the judge and appears that this law will be enforced in Texas so the the sonogram is offered to the women to review and then she's also offered the audio tape that the baby's heartbeat and then the doctor is required to describe the age of the unborn or the size of the unborn child whether the child has developed limbs and point one out the internal organs so there may be more appeals pending that that's the law for now okay something that we will keep our eye on okay on to our KFDM news Facebook page we’ve got lots of questions we’ll try to get to most of them can a father keep a year and a half year old from his mother well it depends on if there's a court order there's no court order in place and each parent has equal rights to the child so I don't know the answer until I know that a court order ok if the mom has custody and is paid child support of an eighteen year old child can she refuse to turn over the child on visitation every other weekend without giving up child support well I’m a little confused about giving up an eighteen-year-old an eighteen-year-old I think would make his or her own decision about where to go because at eighteen years of age child support ceases correct not necessarily child support may continue until the child graduates from high school which is often past the age of eighteen but I think the general question here is can you withhold visitation if you're not getting child support and the answer is no there two entirely separate things ok how do you go about gaining soul custody of your child and changing their last name I’m assuming is what that means ok um sole custody would require a court order if they don't have that now if they have joint custody and feel that that should be modified then back to court okay I have a different last name than my mother and father and they won't give me permission to get a passport is there another channel that I can go to get my passport interesting question if the parents won’t consent I'm not aware of any way that a minor can get a passport so you have to wait until you’re eighteen that's my assumption I've never addressed that specifically but I would think parental consent would be required okay is it legal for someone to place and there will in the event of their death for their child to go to someone who is not family that's a frequently asked question and frequently parents putting their wills who they would like to get custody upon their death that however is not minding on the court it's evidence of parents intent but the courts can make that determination based on the best interest at the child okay what can I do for a father to get that rights supposed to pay child support and get every other weekend and he doesn't do that and he refuses to do that and doesn't do anything for her there anyway that she can getting the father to give up rights well he can always sign a voluntary relinquishment of rights if he’s inclined to do that however the courts are very reluctant to terminate a parent’s rights for the sole purpose of terminating child support so I would be very surprised if that worked but her best option I believe would be to contact the Attorney General’s office to see about getting her child support enforced alright that’s all the time we have we got a lot though appreciate you stopping by