Parental Rights

Parental Rights in Texas After Divorce

If you and the father or mother of your children are going through divorce proceedings, then it is of vital importance to understand your parental rights. The dissolution of this significant relationship can be especially traumatic for children, which is why it is essential for parents to understand and work out any custody and visitation issues as quickly as possible. Having the support of an experienced parental rights attorney in Houston can help expedite this process.

Texas family courts generally assume that in the event of a divorce, both parents will be joint custodians or joint managing conservators of the child. However, this title should not be mistaken with traditional 50/50 visitation, as Texas law states that joint managing conservators will only share the parental rights, such as meeting the financial responsibilities of the child, making legal decisions for the child, etc. One important note: Texas state law mandates that certain parental rights can only be held with the parent that has the child, such as the right to discipline. 

In some cases, when joint management is not shared, a Texas court will make one parent the sole conservator of the child, while the other parent will be a possessory conservator. This means that the other parent will be granted some visitation, but not have joint conservatorship of the child.

During the divorce proceedings, a Houston family attorney will help the parents come up with an appropriate visitation schedule that everyone can abide by. There is a standard visitation schedule, contained within the family code, that most Texas judges will stick to, although special exceptions can be made in cases of holidays or work schedules. A visitation agreement, made by the parents through mediation or on their own, is almost always approved by the family court.

With a standard visitation schedule, the judge will order that the primary parent (conservator) may not move away from the contiguous counties, until they get special permission from the family court. The possessory conservator will be given at least two weekends a month, 30 days in the summer and alternating public and religious holidays, as long as he or she lives within 100 miles of the primary conservator.  You can contact a Houston attorney for more information on what a standard visitation order includes.

If the child is older than 12, the judge may ask the minor who he or she wants to live with. While this does not determine the judge’s decision, it is common for  the courts to take the wishes of the child seriously and order a custody arrangement in accordance therewith, especially as they get closer to the age of 18.

If you are seeking full custody or want to assert your father’s rights or mother’s rights, then it is vital to have the support of a highly qualified and experienced Houston attorney. Deciding legal custody issues can be a highly emotional and devastating process, so let your Houston divorce lawyer help you get the custody that is in the best interest of your child(ren).

Melissa E. Palmer is an experienced custody attorney who can assist you through the court process of custody disputes.  Please call 713-218-6900 or toll free 866-868-0600 or contact Melissa Palmer today to protect your parental rights and obtain the results that are in the very best interest of your child(ren).