Child custody issues can be particularly difficult for parents to deal with, especially if the parents are at odds. But, generally each parent has an equal right to the child, so when one parent gets physical custody, the other parent still has visitation rights. The visitation rights afforded to parents depend on state laws. In Texas, child custody is called "conservatorship" and visitation is referred to as "possession and access."
Texas Visitation Laws at a Glance
While it's important to know the actual language of a statute, it's often helpful to have an explanation of the statute in plain English. The chart below provides links to the relevant statutes and a quick summary of the laws that relate to visitation rights in Texas.
Texas Family Code, Section 153.001, et seq. (Conservatorship, Possession, and Access)
|Determining a Visitation Schedule
Texas has a "standard possession order" which allows each parent to have equal possession and access to the child, while also addressing a child's needs during the school year.
The right to possession of the child varies depending on whether the parents live more than 100 miles apart, or if the distance where each parent lives is 100 miles or less.
When a child is less than 3 years old, the court will make a visitation schedule that makes sense given the circumstances. The factors in making this decision will include*:
- how the child will be affected by separation from either parent;
- the presence of siblings during possession;
- the need for routine;
- the availability of the parents as caregivers; and
- the needs of the child.
*Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of factors.
|Deviating from the Standard Possession Order
It's possible for parents to make their own visitation schedule, but it must be approved by the court. In these situations, the court will base its decision on the guidelines provided by the standard possession order and consider various factors, including (but not limited to) the age, circumstances, and best interest of the child.
|Texas Family Code, Section 156.001, et seq. (Modification)
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Visitation Rights in Texas: Related Resources
If you'd like more information related to this topic, you can visit the links listed below:
Get Legal Help Protecting Your Visitation Rights in Texas
Coming to an agreement regarding child custody and visitation can be especially difficult when working with an ex with whom you don't have a good relationship. So, if you're trying to figure out the custody and visitation schedule for your child, it's a good idea to contact an experienced child custody lawyer in Texas to ensure that your visitation rights are protected.