The State of Texas no longer uses the term custody and instead uses conservatorship and possession and access (for visitation schedules), but the effects remain the same. Divorcing parents are often concerned about whether they should fight for full custody, and this issue deserves closer attention. Without a significant reason for not allowing your children’s other parent to spend time with his or her children, your ex will almost certainly be granted a visitation schedule of some kind (if there are concerns about your children’s best interests being served, these visits may be supervised). Let’s take a closer look. (Read more about managing conservatorship in Texas)
The Standard Possession Order
Barring a compelling reason not to, courts typically grant the parent who is not the primary custodial parent (with whom the children primarily live) a visitation schedule that is known as a Standard Possession Order. This order generally grants the parent the following visitation schedule:
He or she will have the children the first, third, and fifth weekend of each month.
He or she will have the children for one evening in the middle of each week.
He or she will have the children for extended visits during the summer and over holidays. (Your Extended Summer Possession)
This parent can also ask for Sunday nights on his or her weekends, and for the mid-week evening to become an overnight, and barring a compelling reason not to, the judge will take the request into careful consideration.
Your Children’s Best Interests
The children's best interests always guide the court. The court’s fallback position is that children’s best interests are served when they can maintain an ongoing relationship with both parents by spending time with both. There are, however, instances when this approach is not what is best for the children, and in such cases, it is vital to make this clear to the court. Examples include:
If your divorcing spouse has serious addiction issues
If your divorcing spouse is a domestic abuser (Learn more about domestic violence charges)
If your divorcing spouse suffers from a severe mental health disorder
If your divorcing spouse has a dangerous criminal record
If you are genuinely concerned about your children’s welfare or safety, you are well-advised to address the matter with the court.
Less Pressing Concerns
If your concerns regarding your children’s other parent veer more toward his or her parenting style, what he or she feeds your children (barring life-threatening allergies), the activities he or she engages in with your children, or anything else along these lines, you are unlikely to convince a judge that he or she is unfit to parent. In the end, your children love both of you, and as long as your ex does not endanger them, supporting an ongoing relationship between your children and him or her is generally considered best for all involved. (Click here for more advice on what to avoid if you are seeking primary custody)
Seek the Professional Legal Guidance of an Experienced Killeen Family Law Attorney
Attorney Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, is committed to helping you obtain child custody arrangements that uphold you and your children's rights and best interests. We are here to help, so please do not hesitate to contact us online or call us at 254-501-4040 for more information today.