Visitation Rights

Visitation Rights refer to a non-custodial parent’s right to spend time with their children after a divorce. Visitation rights are designed to ensure that children maintain healthy and meaningful relationships with both parents, even if they do not reside in the same household.

Visitation rights in Texas are governed by state laws and court orders, which outline the specific terms and conditions of visitation arrangements.

Visitation Rights

Establishment of Visitation Rights

Visitation rights are typically established as part of a court-ordered parenting plan or custody agreement. When parents are unable to agree on visitation arrangements, the court may intervene and establish a visitation schedule based on the best interests of the child.

A Standard Possession Order (SPO) outlines a default visitation schedule.

Relevant Law: Tex. Fam. Code §153.

Types of Visitation

In Texas, visitation rights can take various forms, depending on the circumstances of the case and the needs of the child. The following are common types of visitation.

Scheduled Visitation

Scheduled visitation involves a specific visitation schedule outlined in the court order or parenting plan. This schedule may include regular weekend visits, weekday visits, holidays, and school breaks.

Supervised Visitation

In cases where there are concerns about the safety or well-being of the child, the court may order supervised visitation. During supervised visits, a third-party supervisor or agency oversees the visit to ensure the child’s safety and well-being.

Virtual Visitation

With the advancement of technology, virtual visitation has become increasingly common. Virtual visitation allows non-custodial parents to maintain contact with their children through video calls, emails, text messages, and other electronic means.

Factors Considered in Visitation Orders

When determining visitation rights in Texas, the court considers various factors, including:

  • The child’s age, needs, and preferences (if they are old enough to express them).
  • The parent’s work schedule, availability, and ability to provide care and supervision during visitation.
  • The distance between the parents’ residences and the feasibility of transportation for visitation.
  • Any history of domestic violence, substance abuse, or other factors that may impact the safety and well-being of the child.

Modification of Visitation Orders

Visitation orders in Texas can be modified if there is a significant change in circumstances or if the current visitation schedule is no longer in the best interests of the child. Either parent can petition the court to modify the visitation order, but they must demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances or provide compelling reasons for the modification.

Enforcement of Visitation Orders

Visitation orders issued by the court are legally binding, and both parents are required to comply with the terms of the order. If one parent interferes with the other parent’s visitation rights, the aggrieved parent can seek enforcement of the visitation order through the court. The court may impose penalties or take other actions to enforce the visitation order and ensure compliance.

Conclusion

In summary, visitation rights in Texas are intended to promote the child’s best interests by fostering healthy and meaningful relationships with both parents. Visitation orders establish the terms and conditions of visitation arrangements, taking into account the child’s needs, the parents’ schedules, and other relevant factors.

A family law attorney with experience in child custody matters can advocate for your interests and help you devise a parenting arrangement with your ex.

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