In Texas, the law presumes that a child would benefit from a relationship with both parents. One of the most common custodial arrangements is joint legal custody, what Texas Courts call Joint Managing Conservatorship, which means that both parents play a role in the upbringing of their children. However, there is usually one parent who has primary physical custody, which means that the child resides with the custodial parent most of the time. The other parent, referred to as the noncustodial parent, still enjoys visitation. The rules involving custody and visitation in Texas can be complex. Contacting Austin child visitation lawyer Abraham Kant to schedule a free review of your legal options involving visitation can help clear things up and protect your parental rights.
Parents without physical custody (but with joint legal custody) have the right to reasonable visitation. At a minimum, the Texas Family Code provides a Standard Possession Schedule which clearly defines which parent is entitled to possession of the children at any given time. The parents are free to deviate from this schedule when both parents agree on the change, but the schedule provides a default framework of time which each parent can be assured of time with their children. In broad terms, the standard possession schedule provides the non-custodial parent with possession of their children on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th (for months with 5 weekends) weekend of each month, an afterschool possession period of every Thursday during the regular school years, 30 days over summer, and alternating holidays. There can also be provisions for possession of the children on their birthdays, as well as, on Father’s Day and Mother’s Day. If there are specific religious holidays that are important to your family, it is essential that a possession schedule for those holidays also be built into your possession order.
Parents must communicate and work together to ensure that their children have good relationships with both parents for this visitation approach to work. If disputes later arise, a Court will pay special attention to the efforts each parent has made in fostering a healthy relationship between the children and each parent.
If you don’t think you and your ex-spouse can agree to a reasonable visitation schedule, you can save yourself a lot of time, money, and hassle by requesting a fixed visitation schedule. This is a more rigid visitation schedule, which may include specific times and places the noncustodial parent can see the children. Working out a reasonable possession schedule outside of Court is almost always preferable to a ‘cookie-cutter’ court-ordered schedule, as the schedule you work out by the agreement will be more tailored to the specific demands of each parents schedule and the children.
If the noncustodial parent has a history of abuse or otherwise destructive behavior, the court can (and often does) require that visitation between said parent and the children be supervised. Supervised visitation rights require that an adult be present during visits at all times. This adult may be appointed by the court or chosen by both parents. There are also supervised visitation centers that can provide supervised visits in a controlled atmosphere. These visits are normally supervised by an independent third party who will provide a report about the visit. Once a sufficient number of these visits have occurred without incident, the parties can switch to a different visitation schedule if they so choose.
Texas law allows grandparents and others involved in a child’s life to petition the court for the legal right to continue their relationship with the children, or grandchildren. Texas law presumes that time with a parent is preferable to possession time with a non-parent. If you are faced with a situation where you need to exert your rights to a child over a parent, it is important you meet with an attorney early on in the process. Contact Abraham Kant Esquire for a free initial consultation and ask about your legal options.
Visitation schedules are often a point of contention in divorce proceedings. Determining the right schedule for your family situation requires the assistance of an experienced Austin family law attorney. Contact Abraham Kant to discuss your legal options as a custodial or noncustodial parent. We offer a free initial case review for your convenience.