Texas parents have the right to be part of their child’s life. The court allows parents to develop a plan that outlines where the child will live and how the parents will share custody. If parents are unable to agree, the court must make decisions that may not be agreeable to one or both parents.
Conservators are those who have possession rights to a child and may be possessory or managing. Parents may share managing conservator duties. Some of the responsibilities include overseeing and implementing the child’s health care, education and religious upbringing. If an emergency arises, the managing conservator may make decisions, consult with the other parent and consult with medical and psychological providers. They may decide about school activities and, while the child is living with them, be responsible for their food, shelter and clothing.
Visitation outlines the way the parents share physical possession of the child. While one parent will have primary physical custody, the other parent will be able to see the child based on certain standards. Unless the parents otherwise agree, a court will issue a standard visitation order that provides for weekend visits for the noncustodial parent on the first, third and fifth weekend of each month. Under the order, each parent has the child on alternate Thanksgivings. Christmas is broken into two parts, with parents having the child for one half of the holiday or the other, alternating each year. Summer vacation allows the noncustodial parent to have the child for 30 or 45 days depending on the distance the parents live apart.
A family law attorney may help a parent structure a plan that can be approved by the court and which allows both parents to feel comfortable with the sharing arrangement. The primary concern of the court is the best interests of the child, which will guide the negotiation of the agreement.
Source: Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, “Visitation Rights and Responsibilities“, September 21, 2014