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Texas child custody and visitation court standards

The playing field is level for Houston parents in child-related legal conflicts, according to Texas laws. No one parent has more rights than another in terms of child custody. Family laws presume separated and divorced parents share the responsibilities of parenthood as joint managing conservators, provided the arrangement is beneficial to children.

The last point is extremely important -- the best interests of the child are the determining factor in child conservatorships, support and visitation cases. Visitation rules or "standard possession orders" set by family law courts are altered accordingly to accommodate this overriding concern for children's welfare.

The customary schedule non-custodial parents receive allows for weekly, monthly and special occasion visits. Visitations are modified to take the distance between parental homes into consideration. Visitations for non-custodial parents within a 100-mile range of custodial parents include seeing children one evening per week, two to three weekends per month, during holidays on an alternating schedule and in 30-day stretches during summer vacations.

When the distance between parents is greater than 100 miles, weeknight times may be eliminated, for travel difficulties and weekend visitations may or may not be reduced. Holiday schedules remain the same, although summer visitations are increased to 42 days.

The court may issue a graduated possession order to fit the circumstances of a case. In some instances, a non-custodial parent may start out with restricted visitations and build up to regular standards over time. This arrangement can be beneficial for young children whose relationship with a non-custodial parent was limited in the past.

Attorneys understand each child has particular needs. Every parent has individual desires concerning child custody and visitations. A family law attorney can help parents sort out the issues and understand the court's view of these matters.

A lawyer can provide advice and legal representation to support a parent's position. Negative factors affecting a custody case also can be explained.

Source: The Attorney General of Texas, "Handbook for Noncustodial Parents" Dec. 21, 2014

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