How to Establish Visitation in Texas with Your Children
Parents are fortunate in Texas because the courts strive to enable them to remain active in their child’s life. This means that even if one parent is appointed as the main conservator of the child, there is a good possibility that the other parent will have ongoing rights to visitation in Texas. The only real exception to this is when the non-custodial parent is suspected of abusing the child. In other cases, where the court believes that both parents are capable of acting in the child’s best interests, visitation will be ordered.
The parent who provides a primary residence for the child is called the “custodial parent”. Generally, the child will spend the majority of their time with this parent. Non-custodial parents have visitation rights. Rights for visitation in Texas can be quite flexible, especially when the parents agree on a parenting plan. As long as the court decrees that a parenting plan is in the child’s best interests, the arrangement will be approved. This means that the visitation plan can be as simple or complex as the parents may desire.
In the absence of a visitation schedule in the parenting plan, the court
will enact a “standard possession” order. The standard possession schedule is codified in Texas laws, and it is specific. The non-custodial parent will have possession of the child each month on the first, third and fifth weekends. Visitation is stipulated to begin at six in the evening on Friday, continuing through six in the evening on Sunday. Thursday evenings between six and eight also are standard possession hours. The summer season has a bit more flexibility, with non-custodial parents being granted an additional 30 days of possession.
The best way to establish the right to visitation in Texas is through creating a reasonable, thoughtful parenting plan that is convenient for both parents and the child. Failing the ability to establish a workable visitation schedule in the parenting plan, the court will order that the standard possession rule comes into effect. Either way, a court order is required.
Fortunately, the courts recognize that situations and circumstances change. As the child gets older and begins making more independent choices, it may be necessary to modify the visitation agreement. This is best accomplished by working with the court system to obtain a modification.
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