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Visitation rights in Texas explained

Under Texas law, both parents have rights and responsibilities to their children. Additionally, judges want parents to work together toward the best interest of their children as this cooperation can provide clear expectations to their children. When parents are unable to reach an agreement on their own regarding how to divide these responsibilities, the court makes an assessment based on the child's best interest.

Texas law presumes that both parents should have equal rights related to the children. These rights include the ability of both parents to receive information related to their children, to discuss the child's health, welfare and education with the other parent if a decision must be made regarding these factors, to talk to medical providers regarding the child's health, to attend school activities and to consult with school officials regarding the education of the child. Additionally, unless a court order directs otherwise, both parents are presumed to have the right to see the child's school records, to be given the right to consent to medical treatment for the child and to manage the child's estate.

One parent is often appointed as the primary managing conservator who will have primary physical custody of the child. Court orders specify the visitation rights of the other parent. In the standard order, the non-custodial parent is entitled to have possession of the child the first, third and fifth weekends of every month. Additionally, the non-custodial parent has the right to have the child every Thursday during the week and during certain holiday periods that alternate each year. Additionally, the non-custodial parent has the right to summer visitation and spring break visitation every other year.

Individuals who would like to petition the court for visitation rights may first choose to discuss their case with a family law attorney. The attorney can suggest adjustments that can be made to this schedule if the standard order is not in the best interest of the child.

Source: Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, "Visitation Rights and Responsibilities ", October 07, 2014

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