The State of Texas considers it to be in the best interests of children to have a continued relationship with both parents unless there is some reason why this would not be appropriate, such as one parent having a history of domestic violence. Even then, visitation may be granted under certain circumstances, such as through supervision. If you are not happy with the visitation schedule or need it modified, a College Station divorce lawyer can help you.
Custody and Visitation
Texas laws use the term “possession” in relation to child custody and visitation. The parent who retains full custody, or possession, is the primary managing conservator, while the other is the non-custodial parent. The latter is granted rights through a standard possession order that is included in the divorce or modified later. This order gives him or her the right to spend time with the child. The court will set up the visitation schedule if the parents are not able to agree upon one themselves.
Visitation Rights and Paternity
In order for the father to have a legal right to visitation, his paternity must first be established. This occurs automatically at the birth of the child if the parents were married at that time. An unmarried father must establish his paternity through either court-ordered testing or by a voluntary written acknowledgement on the part of both parents that he is the father. Without having paternity established, the father will not be granted visitation rights.
If the Non-Custodial Parent Is Incarcerated
A parent who is incarcerated will likely not be granted visitation rights. Once he has been released, he can file a petition for visitation, but whether the court grants the request depends upon a number of factors. In all cases, what the court perceives to be in the best interests of the children will be served.
Moving out of the Geographical Area
Generally speaking, the parent retaining possession, or custodial parent, must obtain approval from the court if she wishes to move far enough away to affect the other parent’s ability to visit the children. There are situations where such a move is granted, of course, but this decision must be made by the court.
Ultimately, it is best if both parents can work together on keeping a visitation schedule. It is never beneficial for the children if the parents argue with each other over such matters.
If You Have Questions or Need Legal Assistance
If you need help with obtaining a modification of an existing visitation order or have questions, a College Station divorce attorney can help. Call Peterson Law Group today at 979-703-7014 or 936-337-4681.