If a parent is “fit”—meaning they are safe, protective, and meeting their child’s basic needs—it will be hard for a non-parent or CPS to convince a court to take away or limit that parent’s rights.
But, if a parent is unfit—for example, if they’re putting the child in danger, not meeting the child’s needs, or have abandoned the child—then CPS might investigate them, or someone who wants custody of their child might file a conservatorship case against them.
What can you do if someone isn’t letting you see your child or make decisions about your child?
Get a conservatorship order. If there is no court order for the child, the other parent doesn’t have to let you see your child or be involved in making decisions about your child. Getting an order will set up clear rules that each parent is supposed to follow.
Enforcement. If you already have specific court ordered rights - such as certain weekends you are allowed to spend with your child - and the other parent or conservator is refusing to follow the rules, you may be able to file an enforcement case against them.
Writ of Habeas Corpus. If someone is keeping your child away from you, and a court has not given them the right to do that, you may be able to ask the court to return the child to you with a Writ of Habeas Corpus.
Child Custody & Visitation
The Family Helpline created a video series to help you understand legal issues in family law and CPS cases.
In Texas, having custody of a child is known as "conservatorship."
This video explains what you can do if you think a child is not safe in their home.