During a divorce process child custody is one of the main things that have to be decided. The divorcing parents can agree on how to divide the rights and duties of each parent as far as taking care of their child is concerned.
Court Ordered Parental Rights
If they cannot agree, a court will give orders about who the custodial parent will be and how much child support will be paid by the non-custodial parent.
The custodial parent has the right to make most decisions about the child including choosing the primary residence of the child. But this does not mean that the non-custodial parent will not have the right to spend time with the child.
The court will always use the child’s best interest standard in deciding visitation by both parents. This means that the court considers things like stability of the home, school activities, and the age of the child when making decisions about visitation. If the child is 12 years old or older, the judge will interview the child before deciding custody. As far as possession is concerned, the Texas courts can issue either a Standard Possession Order or an expanded Standard Possession Order.
The Standard Possession Order
An SPO sets a schedule for the time each parent should spend with the child. In Texas, custody orders refer to parenting time as access and possession.
Possession means that you can see your child and decide where the child goes. Access means that you can interact with your child through various means and also attend the child’s extracurricular activities.
The terms of an SPO allow the non-custodial parent possession for a few hours every Thursday night; the first, third and fifth weekends of each month; on alternating holidays; and at least one month in the summer.
During the first, third and fifth weekends, the non-custodial parent is allowed to stay with the child from 6:00 pm on Friday to 6.00 pm on Sunday.
An extended SPO allows the non-custodial parent to pick up the child from school to begin the weekend of possession and to take the child to school on the following Monday.
The expanded court order also allows the non-custodial parent to pick the child from school on Thursday and return them to school on Friday. A normal possession order only allows the non-custodial parent to see the child every Thursday from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
Similar Family Law Topics…
- Texas Child Custody Rules
- Waiver of Service in Divorce
- What if you buy a house during divorce?
- Insupportability Divorce in Texas
What If There’s No Court Order?
There is nothing the state can do to force the other parent to let you see your children if there is no court order. You should file a child support case with Office or the Attorney General or with a district court if your spouse is not allowing you to access your children.
Once the orders have been established you will be able to access your children as specified by the order.
In addition, your spouse cannot stop you from seeing your children just because the spouse has physical custody more often than you do.
You can file for an enforcement of the court orders to ensure that you get to see and interact with your children.