On behalf of The Law Offices of Mary Ann Beaty, PC posted in Fathers’ Rights on Wednesday, December 14, 2016.

In Texas, most child custody orders contain a standard possession order (SPO) setting forth each parent’s visitation schedules or their time with their children. A basic SPO allows the parent without custody to have possession of the child at set times each month, on holidays and over the summer.

Texas uses a standard SPO for most cases. This plan outlines the minimum time that each parent can spend with the child and usually divides the time between the custodial and noncustodial parent while allowing the child to keep a regular schedule.

Possession, often known as visitation, allows a parent to see the child in person and to decide where the child can go. Access allows a parent to interact with their child over the phone, through text messages, and by social media. The parent can also attend extracurricular activities and gain access to health and school records.

A parent’s visitation rights are established through a court order. When one parent does not grant access and there is no support order, a parent may file a child support case with the Office of Attorney General on parenting time and visitation or a motion with a district court. Both parents may also apply for child support services to establish this order.

A court follows the order’s visitation terms and will not enforce any new agreements made by the parents. The parents, however, may agree to a new schedule when the need arises. If the parties cannot agree to change an existing schedule or resolve disputes, a parent can file a modification motion with the court.

The location of the families plays a large role in determining parenting time. Different schedules apply when the locations are below or 100 miles apart. A parent can also ask a court to restrict where a parent can move with the child to help assure their involvement in the child’s life.

Parents can also seek parenting time in accordance with a schedule that works better for the family. These include times that reflect school times and drop-off locations, which recognize a child’s special need or age.

An attorney can help with custody and visitation issues and the exercise of fathers’ rights. Legal representation can help assure that a father can pursue these rights and fair and just court orders.

Source: TXAccess.org, “Standard possession order and parenting time,” accessed on Dec. 11, 2016