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Texas guidelines regarding visitation and custody

Under Texas law, both parents have equal rights and responsibilities when it comes to caring for their children. After a divorce, the parents are still expected to exercise those rights and responsibilities unless circumstances prevent them from doing so. This is done through a legal agreement that defines the responsibilities and legal rights of each parent after the divorce.

It is usually best if parents can come to their own agreement on child custody and visitation. This can be done informally between the parents or through more of a formal process such as mediation. Each parent is entitled to representation by their own attorney to ensure that the agreement is valid and fair. The agreement is then approved by a judge.

If the parents cannot agree then the court must decide. All decisions made by the court are done in the best interests of the child. Each parent retains their parental rights unless those are terminated for some other reason. So long as both parents retain their rights, the court will grant a Joint Managing Conservatorship to both parents. This gives both parents the right to information about the child, the right to attend school functions and the right to have equal input in certain decisions such as healthcare or education. The court will then grant one parent primary physical custody of the child and provide the other parent with appropriate visitation rights. The non-custodial parent has the right to see the child according to the visitation rights granted by the court.

There are many factors that influence the decision to grant primary physical custody. A parent who wishes to have primary custody should attempt to show the court that they are the most appropriate and responsible parent. This includes proving that they will cooperate with the other parent and maintain a respectful relationship. The parent will also want to show that they are financially stable and can provide the best home environment and care. An attorney can be useful in helping to present the parent's case.

Source: Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, "Visitation Rights and Responsibilities ", September 21, 2014

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Bruce Turner

In addition to his law degree, Bruce Turner has a master's degree in tax law and is Board Certified in Commercial Real Estate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

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