The guidelines for parental visitation differentiate depending on the state the parties are located. For the State of Texas, the standard possession order must remain uniform throughout the period of conservatorship. In the United States of America, the conservator is the legal term referring to the guardian or parent appointed by a judge, or through an agreed order, to manage the life of the child. However, this depends on the age and lifestyle of a child. When determining and enforcing the standard possession order, the law considers the best interests of a child to determine the primary conservator, the amount of support, and the possession and access that would be the most beneficial for the child. In the Texas Family Code, the Standard Possession Order is laid out with two different distance circumstances. If you’re going through a child custody or visitation case, an Arlington family lawyer can help you through it.
The parents establishing a mutual agreement is imperative when the distance is factored in the Standard Possession Order. If the parents do not agree, the stipulations change based on the distance from the child’s primary residence. Therefore, the noncustodial parent has legal rights to the visitation laid out by the following guidelines:
1) When the parents live WITHIN 100 miles of each other, the noncustodial parent has the right to possess the children(s):
- On the 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekend of every month,
- Every Thursday evening during the school year,
- Alternating holidays, and
- An extended period of time, 30 days, during the summer vacation.
2) When the parents live FURTHER than 100 miles of each other, the noncustodial parent has the right to possess the children(s):
- The same schedule (1st, 3rd, and 5th weekend of every month) OR reduced to one weekend per month,
- No mid-week visits,
- Holiday schedule is the same as parents within 100 miles, and
- The noncustodial parent has every spring break and twelve extra days, 42 days, during the summer vacation period.
As you analyze the Visitation Guidelines, the phrase “mutual agreement” is not only essential to remember, but also imperative for parents to understand. The guidelines are instituted to ensure stability for the children(s), but the rules are not absolute. The only way the Visitation Guidelines can change is when both parents mutually agree on the circumstance and come to establish a new Order that is signed by a Judge. The Texas Family Code, Section 153.311, provides reiteration and clarification concerning the parent’s accessibility in mutually agreeing to change any aspect of the Order.
Thanks to Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC for their insight into family law and visitation guidelines.