Articles Posted in Visitation

Custody and Visitation Laws in Texas: Five Facts that Matter
The fallout of a relationship, whether it’s within a marriage or not, is one of the most difficult times anyone has to go through. But what makes it harder for couples is the fact that it has a huge impact on their children, which is why the law aims to protect the welfare of the young through custody and visitation guidelines.

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Plano child custody lawyerAs part of the divorce process, the parents of a minor child are required to resolve a number of issues related to the child. Typically, this includes things such as who will be the Managing Conservator of the child, when the other parent will be able to spend parenting time with the child (known as “possession and access” in Texas), and how the financial responsibility for the care and maintenance of the child will be handled. All of this is included in a Parenting Plan that is submitted to the court for approval as part of the divorce process. What happens, however, if your child’s other parent violates the terms of that agreement? A Plano child custody lawyer explains how to enforce a parenting agreement in Texas.

Who Decides on the Terms of a Parenting Plan?

Ideally, the parents sit down together and worth through the terms to be included in the Parenting Agreement together. If it becomes clear that the parents are having problems reaching an agreement on the terms, the court may send the parties to mediation in the hope that a mediator can help them. If, despite all attempts to amicably reach an agreement as to the terms of the plan, the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the court will step in and create the plan. Once the Parenting Plan has been approved by the court, it becomes part of the final decree of divorce. As such, the terms of the Parenting Plan have the full weight and authority of an order of the court.

Plano father’s rights lawyer 15306-300x201When a marriage ends, it typically causes repercussions that last for a long time to come. This is especially true if there are minor children of the marriage – and even more so if you are the father. Although the law has come a long way in recent years as far as recognizing the rights of fathers in a divorce, it is still the norm that the children remain with the mother the majority of the time post-divorce. That frequently leaves a father relegated to weekends and maybe a night during the school week for parenting time with his children. Sometimes, even that time with your children is taken away when an ex-spouse refuses to allow you time with your children. Unfortunately, this scenario is all too common. A Plano father’s rights lawyer discusses what legal options you may have if your ex won’t let you see your children.

When Your Ex Shuts Down Parenting Time

In a perfect world, both parents would continue to play an active, productive, and positive role in the lives of their children after a divorce. The world, however, is far from perfect. All too often, children are used as pawns in adult feuds and/or children get caught in the middle of parental disputes or emotions. The parent who has primary conservatorship of the children may boldly announce that you cannot spend time with the children or it could be a gradual change with your ex offering one excuse after another why they cannot see you this weekend until, eventually, she tells you they can no longer spend time with you. Numerous reasons and excuses may be offered to justify keeping the children from you. Some mothers (mistakenly) believe that they can keep you from the children if you are behind on child support. Others keep the children from their father out of jealousy or spite when dad starts dating again. The bottom line is that you aren’t allowed to see your children,

Plano child custody lawyerWhen a divorce involves minor children, issues surrounding custody of (referred to as conservatorship in Texas) and visitation with (referred to as “possession and access”) the children can be the catalyst for contentious litigation. Unfortunately, litigation relating to visitation with the children can also crop up long after the initial divorce has concluded. Whether during the initial divorce proceeding or post-divorce, the parent granted conservatorship (custody) of the children may request that the other parent only spend time with the children during supervised visitation. Because it is not the norm, it is always best to discuss your specific situation with an experienced Texas divorce attorney if the need for supervised visitation has come up.  A Plano child custody lawyer, however, offers a general explanation of how supervised visitation works and when it might be warranted.

What Does the Law Say about Conservatorship in General?

The Texas Family Code Sec. 153 governs conservatorship and possession and access of minor children in a divorce. Specifically, the law states that the public policy of the State of Texas is to:

15008When the parents of a minor child make the decision to end their marriage, that decision impacts the child as well as the parents. During the ensuing divorce proceedings, the parents will also need to make several additional decisions that have a direct affect on the child, such as who will have conservatorship (custody) of the child and what type of possession and access (visitation) schedule the parents will use to ensure that both parents continue to be a part of the child’s life. Decisions relating to conservatorship and possession and access will be included in the final decree, making them orders of the court. Sometimes, however, circumstances change down the road that prompt a parent to want to modify the possession and access schedule. If you find yourself in this situation, consult with a Texas divorce attorney to determine what legal options you have.

Conservatorship in Texas

In the State of Texas, “custody” of a minor child is referred to as “conservatorship.” Conservatorship is essentially the equivalent of legal custody of a child. A parent could be awarded managing conservatorship, joint conservatorship, or no conservatorship over the minor child in a divorce. In the State of Texas, there is a presumption that parents will be awarded joint conservatorship, meaning that both parents have a voice in important matters affecting the child such as where the child attends school, what religion the child will follow, and what medical treatment the child will receive. As a general rule, this means a court will grant joint conservatorship absent a showing of why a parent should not be granted a joint conservator. For example, if a parent has a history of child abuse or domestic violence, a court might take away the parent’s joint conservatorship status and grant the other parent sole managing conservatorship.

judicial boundariesBy now, most of us have heard of the outrageous decisions ordered from a Michigan judge who sent three children to juvenile detention.

Their “crime”? Refusing to have lunch with their father. As a father’s rights advocate, this case raises many red flags, even for those of us who seek to ensure children are afforded a relationship with their father. Here’s how the case unfolded.

Michigan Circuit Judge Lisa Gorcyca found herself in a standoff with a 15-year-old boy who said he did not wish to spend any time with his father because he’d witnessed him hit his mother. The judge was unhappy with his defiance and demanded the boy to “have a healthy relationship with your father.” The judge then said she believes the mother was indeed turning the children against their father. She held the 15 year-old-boy in contempt and accused him and his two younger siblings of “being like cult leader Charles Manson.”

Is a Lack of Fathers the Real Problem?In recent months, it seems as though there’s been a huge divide in this country. It’s tragic because it’s not indicative of how most Americans truly feel. It is, however, the result of a few who are adamant on making it so. No matter what the issues at hand, there’s always something that seems to keep us divided. Recently, though, it’s what one of the candidates for the Republican presidential ticket said that has stirred some debate.

Many are asking if it’s the lack of fathers that is the real problem.

As a family law attorney, I see firsthand the trauma and emotional pain pouring forth from families that divide due to divorce. There are times when both parents are loving, unselfish and want to ensure their children are as protected as possible. Those are the cases that remind us just how important family is, even when it’s a divided family. Priorities are straight and we know these kids are going to have two parents who are always on their side.

As parents exercise their extended summer possession periods, usually for the month of July, issues sometimes arise. What if the custodial parent fails to surrender the child to you? What if you talk with your child during the summer and learn the child wants to come live with you now?

I’m here to answer these questions for you and advise you of your rights and options. I can help. Call me at 972-381-2727 now.

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