Child custody and visitation is the foundation for many disputes in Texas. Because emotions will inevitably run high during a divorce and people might be at odds as to where the child will live, how often a non-custodial parent will see the child and what the future holds, it is important to understand the basics regarding these issues. For example, many people are unaware of the template for visitation or how the distance between the parents’ residences might impact a case. To be fully protected, it is wise to have professional help in any family law case.
Terms and facts about child custody and visitation
In Texas, knowing the fundamentals can help with a family law case. Even the terms might be unfamiliar to many people. Custody is referred to as conservatorship and visitation is known as periods of possession. In the state, there is a presumption that the parents will share the responsibility of raising and caring for a child after they have divorced. The key is the child’s best interests. This must be served above all else.
There is a Standard Possession Order in Texas. This is the basis upon which most determinations are made. Regarding the distance separating residences, the order will depend on if the parents are within 100 miles of each other or live beyond that. If they are within 100 miles of each other, the non-custodial parent has the child every other weekend; on Thursday evenings; will alternate with the other parent having the child on holidays; and will be given an extended time with the child during vacations – this lasts 30 days.
When the parents live more than 100 miles away, there might be a limitation of one weekend per month for the non-custodial parent; the mid-week visitation will be eliminated; the holiday schedule will be the same; and the non-custodial parent can have the child for 42 days during vacation and will also have the child during spring break. The child’s age and individual circumstances may warrant deviation from this basic order.
Experienced and professional help can be useful
During a divorce and child custody case, it is easy for parents to get caught up in their own circumstances and forget about the child. The court tries to focus on the best interests of the child and make its determinations based on how the child benefits. To achieve a positive result and be fully protected, having legal guidance throughout a family law case is imperative. When the decision is made to end a marriage and children are involved, it is a good idea to have guidance from the start.