As part of any divorce or paternity case, parental rights to visit their children must be addressed by the court. In cases where parents are able to reach an agreement on their own, possession orders can be customized to meet the unique needs of parents and their children. If parents cannot reach an agreement on their own, the court will determine custody and visitation rights as part of a divorce settlement. Under Texas state law, non-custodial parents have a right to parenting time – sometimes referred to as “visitation” – with their children.

In most cases, non-custodial parents have what is called a standard possession order that indicates his or her visitation rights. While each case is different, in general, a standard possession order in Texas includes the following possible schedules for parenting time:

  • Children can stay every Thursday night from 6 pm to 8 pm at the home of their non-custodial parent. They can also elect to stay overnight.
  • Non-custodial parents are entitled to parenting time with their children on the first, third, and fifth weekend of each month, starting on a Friday and ending on Sunday.
  • In cases where parents live more than 100 miles apart, the non-custodial parent is entitled to keep their child during each spring break. In cases where parents live less than 100 miles apart, non-custodial parents are entitled to keep their child alternating spring breaks.
  • If parents live more than 100 miles apart, non-custodial parents are entitled to have their children stay with them for 42 days during the summer. If parents live less than 100 miles apart, children can stay with a non-custodial parent for 30 days.
  • Parents can alternate holidays at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  • Parents can create their own agreement in regard to birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter, Fourth of July, etc.

Visitation Schedules – Determining What Works Best

Texas courts have been quite receptive to parents working out visitation schedules. However difficult it may be, it’s in you – and your children’s – best interest to work with your ex-spouse to determine a parenting time schedule. Otherwise, the court will be forced to issue possession orders that may not be to anyone’s liking, especially if you and your ex-spouse work full-time and live across town from each other. When creating a parenting plan, it’s also important to take in to account whether or not both parents have the legal authority to make medical decisions for a child.

In some possession orders, a parent may not have physical custody but still retain legal custody – that is, the right to make medical decisions for a child. Alternatively, a parent may not have physical or legal custody. When creating a parenting plan, it’s essential to include stipulations governing contact phone numbers, periodic check-ins, what to do in case of emergency, and how traveling and living expenses will be divided.

Post-Divorce Modifications, Parental Relocations, and Visitation

If a custodial or non-custodial parent decides to relocate, the move away must first be approved by the court; otherwise, the parent who moves away will be held in contempt and could lose certain aspects of their parental rights. Since a parental relocation will affect visitation schedules, it’s necessary to petition the court for a post-divorce modification regarding any planned move away. If the court believes the move away is in the best interest of the child, it will likely be approved. If approved, however, possession orders must be changed and visitation schedules re-arranged.

Contact Dallas, Texas Child Visitation Lawyer Dennis A. Fuller Today

Regardless of whether you’re facing divorce or are involved in a child visitation dispute,contact Dallas, Texas child visitation attorney Dennis A. Fuller today to learn how we can help you.

The Law Office of Dennis Fuller is located in Dallas, Texas. Mr. Fuller provides quality family law representation to his clients in all areas of North Texas, including Dallas, Fort Worth, Denton, McKinney, Frisco, Richardson, Addison, Plano, and throughout Dallas, Collin, Denton, and Tarrant Counties. To speak with Dennis Fuller about your legal concerns, contact us at 972-852-8500 to schedule an appointment today.