If you have children involved in a divorce in Texas, chances are you will have to negotiate visitation rights, either for yourself or the non-primary parent.
What’s the difference between child custody and visitation?
Custody is a broader term that refers to either the physical or legal custody of a child, while visitation refers to the time spent with a child.
In a sole managing conservatorship (SMC), visitation rights may be granted to the non-custodial parent. These rights will be granted in the form of a visitation schedule. The visitation schedule will dictate the specific dates, times, duration, and locations where the non-custodial parent will see their child.
This part is crucial. If your visitation schedule says you’ll see your child every first and third weekend of the month, do not deviate. Both parents must adhere to the visitation schedule. If an exemption is needed, one must get the consent of the custodial parent to do so. Read: unscheduled, surprise visits will not be received well by the Court.
Texas Courts may grant either unsupervised or supervised visitation rights. Unsupervised visitations are just that, unsupervised. As long as one adheres to the visitation schedule, there will be no problems. Typically, supervised visits are ordered when a parent may pose a threat to the child. A judge will order supervised visitation in these cases for the child’s well-being and safety.
Visitation Rights Variations
Visitation rights can also include different combinations of legal and physical custody, in addition to a myriad of visitation schedules. Typically, around the holidays, these visitation schedules tend to be different from non-holiday months. So, it is imperative if you are filing for divorce in Texas with children to retain a family law attorney to represent the best present your case to the Court.
Prepare Yourself for Court
There are a few ways you can prove to the Court that you are active in your child’s life. Including retaining extensive and detailed information about your child. For example, a parent should know the following about their child:
- daily schedule
- school, teachers, and grade
- extracurricular activities and the names of all coaches &/or sponsors
- medical background
- special needs
Basically, there shouldn’t be anything the other parent knows about your child that you do not.
When are visitation rights not granted?
In cases where a Texas judge believes the child’s physical or emotional well-being is at significant risk of being harmed, the judge will not grant visitation. However, the Court will often attempt supervised visitation before revoking visitation rights altogether.
Current Visitation Schedules
As mentioned, if visitation schedules or custody arrangements are already in place, follow them to a tee. If you fail to do so, the Court could deliver serious consequences. Any deviation from the visitation schedule might be perceived by the Court as Parental Kidnapping. In instances of Parental Kidnapping, law enforcement may assist in enforcing the visitation schedule.
However, if you are seeking to change visitation schedules, it is possible. Contact one of our family law attorneys to request a child custody modification.
Can a parent refuse visitation if child support is not meet?
No. Visitation rights are not pay-to-play. Child support and visitation rights do not go hand in hand. You will be able to bring it before a judge to consider the ramifications (possession and access to the child) for a parent failing to uphold their monetary responsibilities. However, you alone cannot refuse visitation solely on the grounds of late child support payments.
How to Have Smooth Visitations
Both parents should work together to make visitation exchanges and the visitations themselves a positive experience for all. The following are some tips to help you do just that:
- develop routines to give children a sense of security
- treat your former partner with respect
- help the children feel safe and comfortable in both homes
- maintain open communication with your former partner
- help make transitions from one home to the other calm and smooth
- spend individual time with your child
- make sure your child has their own space in your home
- don’t question your child’s loyalty. Let them know it’s okay to love both parents
AZ Law Firm Family Law Team
Going through a divorce in Texas and navigating the waters of visitations rights can be tricky. Our goal, like the Courts, is to put your child’s well-being above all else. Give us a call, we’re here to help you give your child the best life possible.
To find out how we can help you with a divorce in Texas, contact an Divorce Lawyer Austin at 512-400-7070 or send us a message. We will schedule an initial client consultation to review your case details and lay out a game plan for your divorce in Texas. AZ Law Firm will pursue the legal action necessary to secure the fairest possible divorce and visitation schedule for you and your loved ones.
- evaluating and explaining to you the pros and cons of your individual case
- discussing with you any available options and our proposed strategies as it relates to your case
- providing guidance and recommendations regarding any proposed settlement offer
- quickly and effectively communicating with you during each step of the process so that you are not left in the dark
- taking your case solely on a contingent fee basis
- and aggressively protecting and defending your rights
We understand times are tough and that there probably hasn’t been a tougher time in your life. Although we could get away with charging exuberant amounts, we prefer not to as we are a law firm by the people, for the people. We do not want you to worry about whether you can afford to hire an attorney to protect and defend your rights. Call us and be surprised at the quality you receive compared to what other law firms will quote you!
Accordingly, the attorneys at AZ Law Firm will always provide you with a free initial consultation. During this initial consultation, one of our divorce lawyer Austin team will evaluate your case, inform you of any legal options that may be available, and allow you to ask any questions that you may have. AZ Law Firm offers affordable rates for all our clients and will work with you on payment plans. Our firm accepts checks, debit cards, and most major credit cards to cover the costs of your legal representation.