Visitation rights for Texas parents

Just because a parent does not have custody of his or her child, this does not mean that the person cannot have a relationship with the loved one. Texas visitation rights provide an option for those who would like to spend some time with their children. In fact, studies suggest that in many cases, it is in the child's best interest to maintain an ongoing bond with both parents.

Parents without child custody rights can ask for visitation in Texas. A child's legal mother and father have parental rights, which includes the potential right to child visitation. In general, a child's legal mother is identified at birth. The state also recognizes the man married to the child's mother at birth as the presumed father. If the biological father is unmarried, he must establish paternity in order to be entitled to parental rights, which includes child custody.

The court will generally make visitation and custody decisions as a part of a divorce decree, a paternity order, or any other order that affects the parent-child relationship. The court usually considers what is in the child's best interest when making the decisions.

The Texas Family Code sets forth the factors that a court will consider when determining what is in a child's best interest. In this evaluation, the court might observe the following:

  • The relationship between the parents
  • Whether parents can work together in raising the child
  • The parents' financial circumstances
  • The distance between the parents' homes
  • The ability of each parent to serve as the child's caretaker
  • The parents' employment status

The court will consider these factors when assessing what is best for the child. In some cases, the court will consider a child's preference if he or she is 12 years old or more.

Visitation

Ultimately, the noncustodial parent has rights to a possession order that dictates when and how the person may spend time with his or her child. This is commonly known as visitation. If he or she is fit to be involved in the child's life, the noncustodial parent has a right to visitation time. A court-determined schedule lays out a plan for weekends, holidays, celebrations and more.

If you are concerned about your ongoing relationship with your child, it helps to speak with a professional. A lawyer versed in family law can help aid you in understanding your rights.