Unlike custody, which primarily involves the legal rights of a parent, child visitation refers to the physical access a parent has to a child. In most custody cases, judges do their best to ensure both parents play roles in a child’s life. Texas statutes refer to visitation as “possession and access.” During custody proceedings, parents must agree to a visitation schedule or the courts will do so on their behalves.
The attorneys at Ted Smith Law Group, PLLC, recognize the need for a parent to spend adequate time with a child. In addition to securing optimal visitation rights, we also help parents raise concerns when the other parent fails to follow the terms of the schedule.
As part of a parenting plan, divorced parents need visitation schedules to avoid conflicts regarding time spent with a child. There are two exceptions to formalized visitation schedules. The courts will make individual decisions for children under the age of 3, and any child older than 18 who is no longer in school is not bound by the visitation schedule.
While some divided families may have special circumstances, the majority of parents adhere to a standard schedule, which ensures the following visitation rights:
- Three alternating weekends a month determined by Fridays
- One weeknight, for a few hours
- Thirty days of visitation during the summer
- Alternated holidays and spring breaks
- Full weekends for each parent on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day
The formalized schedule will include details regarding times and any individualized differences that deviate from the standard form. As long as both parents abide by custody arrangements and keep the best interests of the child in mind, the order will remain in good standing until the child turns 18.
The Rights of a Parent During Visitation
During visitation, a noncustodial parent does not assume the rights of the custodial parent. However, he or she does have certain rights as a parent in possession of a child. A parent is obligated to provide for the child’s basic needs and reasonably protect, care for, and discipline him or her. Depending on the terms of custody, a parent may also have the right to actively participate in the child’s health care needs and education, and provide moral or religious guidance.
Conflicts Arising From Visitation Schedules
Once the initial schedule is approved and both parties agree, parents may find themselves back in court if one party continuously challenges the terms of the schedule. The courts will modify a visitation schedule according to the best interests of the child, but proving visitation issues can be difficult.
If you anticipate that your co-parent will make visitation difficult, consider keeping a record of information regarding visitation times, including witness statements, times, and details about what happened. The court can only enforce the terms of the visitation order. Keep your order in a safe place and refer to it as necessary.
Visitation Rights for Grandparents
If parents retain custodial rights of their children, they choose who their children see. In some cases, this means grandparents may not have an opportunity to play a role in a child’s life. To obtain visitation rights, grandparents must often seek assistance from attorneys who understand the nuances of visitation laws. Sometimes, grandparents may need to file a lawsuit to gain access to a grandchild.
Legal Help for Child Visitation in Harker Heights
At Ted Smith Law Group, PLLC, we understand the complexities of visitation. For parents who have had difficulties with the law or have certain histories, current good behavior can be difficult to prove. We believe wholly in putting the child’s best interests first, and that often means having equal access to two participating parents. For more information about child visitation, contact us today. Initial consultations are always free.