A judge will often order reasonable visitation when deciding a child custody matter in Texas. Reasonable visitation simply means that the non-custodial parent is entitled to some amount of visitation with the child that generally adheres to state guidelines and is considered to be reasonable. The judge leaves the actual coordination and planning of a visitation schedule to the parents themselves. This is directly opposite of a fixed visitation schedule wherein the judge orders times, and possibly locations, that must be adhered to.
A Texas court will take into consideration any recent domestic violence on the part of anyone wishing to have partial or sole custody of a child. Domestic violence is known as any intentional act by a party to cause physical harm to a spouse, a child's parent or anyone under the age of 18. Generally, courts will look closest at any pattern of abuse within two years of filing for custody.
A commonly contentious item in divorce proceedings has to do with child custody, which involves the rights and responsibilities of caring for the child. This challenging situation may be exacerbated if a custodial parent relocates, forcing the other parent to engage in a long-distance relationship with the child. This is especially the case if an existing agreement states that the non-custodial parent is afforded visitation rights.
Even though there seems to be a nationwide push for shared parenting plans to be used post divorce, it is not uncommon for one spouse in Texas to be granted full custody of children in some cases. If a shared or joint custody arrangement isn't a possibility, for whatever the reason, the parent who was not granted custody may wonder if they are at least entitled to visitation rights. In this week's blog post, we are going to explore visitation rights, parental roles and the standard possession order.
In Texas, a standard possession order is the equivalent of a legal visitation schedule. Also known as an SPO, these orders dictate when a nonresidential parent has the legal right to spend time with the child. Parents have the opportunity to devise a visitation schedule without the court's intervention. However, if the parties cannot agree, then the court generally assigns a standard possession order. This ensures that the child is given adequate, quality time with the nonresidential parent in an impartial manner.
Families in Texas may benefit from learning more about how paternity suits relate to matters of child custody. Paternity suits can be described as lawsuits used to force someone to legally acknowledge their biological child. These lawsuits are typically filed when there is a dispute about paternity or if an alleged parent is being uncooperative with establishing paternity. The alleged father, the mother or a government agency may be entitled to file a paternity suit.