How Does Visitation Work in Texas?

When two parents separate or get divorced, they will have to create a parenting schedule to manage the time they will spend with their child. Though the time may not be equal, the plan should provide guidance on who will have the child on a daily basis and who will have visitation time.

Custody and Visitation Rights

In the state of Texas, there are two types of custody roles for parents -- the custodial parent and the noncustodial parent:

  • Custodial Parent: The custodial parent is the mother or father who the child resides with the majority of the time. This is also referred to as the parent with "conservatorship."

  • Noncustodial Parent: The noncustodial parent is the mother or father who the child will get to visit. In Texas, visitation is commonly known as "possession and access."

When the noncustodial parent is chosen, they have the right to have their child for the time allotted by the plan. At no time is the parent with conservatorship allowed to deny the other parent of this time. The court’s number one priority is that every decision is in the child’s best interest. Therefore, if there is found to be a reason that this arrangement needs to be changed, a family court judge will do so.

Scheduling Visitation Time

If the parents can come up with a plan they agree on, it is legally allowed for them to use it. However, in many cases, time for possession and access has to be decided by a judge. Most custody orders will include a standard possession order (SPO) that outlines the schedule for each parent’s time with the child. A basic SPO typically allows the noncustodial parent to have possession of the child during the following times:

  • A few hours every Thursday night

  • On the first, third and fifth weekends of each month

  • On alternating holidays

  • At least one month in the summer

The SPO also states where the parents will exchange the child and state where the child will spend each holiday. This plan is the general standard. However, if parents live over 100 miles apart from each other, they will have a different set of rules. The SPO does not have to be followed if the child is under three years old or it is not in the child’s best interest.

Parchman Law Group Can Help

The court is in favor of parents coming up with their own plan. However, if neither parent can create and agree to a parenting plan, the family court will intervene and decide which parent gets what each role. At Parchman Law Group, our family law attorneys can help you draft a prospective parenting plan to present in court for this arrangement.

Call Parchman Law Group at (713) 364-0777 to learn more about your rights as a parent.