What Are the Standard Texas Child Visitation Laws?

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Under Texas law, both parents enjoy a legal right to spend time with their child. If the child primarily lives with one parent, the noncustodial parent usually receives regular visitation. Texas courts must always make custody and visitation decisions based on the child's best interest.

Legal Terms

Texas uses the term "possession" to describe the child's time spent with each parent. The primary managing conservator has primary custody and possession of the child, while the noncustodial parent retains regular visitation.

Possession Orders

The noncustodial parent will receive a possession order in Texas family law court establishing a child visitation schedule. According to the State Bar of Texas, the family law court starts with a standard possession order establishing visitation at regular intervals. If the parents agree or the court makes a different visitation order, the noncustodial parent can receive a "modified possession order" or "modified under three possession order."


Since the noncustodial parent has a right to regular visitation, the other parent must usually obtain court approval to move away from the geographic area specified in the parents' possession order. However, if the current possession order does not include instructions to live within a geographic area, the primary managing conservator may be able to move without court intervention, even if visitation would become inconvenient or difficult for one parent.

Child Support Obligations and Visitation

Parents must provide financially for their children by paying child support. According to the Texas Attorney General's Office, parents must pay support even if they are unhappy with their current possession or visitation arrangements. Parents can seek additional visitation or apply for possession through the Texas family law courts.



About the Author

Cindy Chung is a California-based professional writer. She writes for various websites on legal topics and other areas of interest. She holds a B.A. in education and a Juris Doctor.

Photo Credits

  • mom and daughter image by Lisa Eastman from Fotolia.com