Court precedent and public policy in Texas hold that it is generally in a child’s best interests to have continuous and consistent contact with both parents. However, the court does not always give equal privileges to each parent regarding physical custody.

Instead, the court typically names one parent as the “primary” or “custodial” parent and grants specific visitation rights to the “non-primary” or “non-custodial” parent, with the exact nature of those rights varying significantly from case to case. While there is no substitute for advice from a skilled visitation attorney when it comes to understanding visitation rights in The Colony, here are some basics about how state law and the court tend to approach this issue.

What Is the Standard Possession Order in The Colony?

Most deliberations in The Colony over visitation rights begin with the Standard Possession Order (SPO) outlined in Texas Family Code § 153.312. The SPO grants visitation rights to non-custodial parents living 100 miles or less away from the custodial parent during the following times:

  • Thursday of every week, between six and eight PM
  • The first, third, and—if applicable—fifth weekends of every month, with the weekend being defined as six PM on Friday to six PM the following Sunday
  • Spring break from school in even-numbered years, defined as the period from six PM on the day school lets out to six PM on the day before school starts again
  • Up to 30 days over summer break from school, to be scheduled during the entire month of July unless the non-custodial parent provides timely notice to the custodial parent

State law establishes an assumption that this Standard Possession Order is in a child’s best interests following their parents’ separation or divorce. As an attorney could further explain, though, numerous situations could lead to order modifications.

Potential Changes to a Parent’s Visitation Rights

State law allows the court to establish an Expanded Standard Protective Order if it feels it is beneficial to allow a non-custodial parent more consistent time with their child, and vice versa. Depending on the circumstances, an Expanded SPO can allow for overnight visitation on Thursdays, an extension of weekend visitation from when school lets out on Friday to when school resumes on Monday, or visitation rights over various holiday breaks beyond Spring Break. The court also imposes slightly different terms for SPOs when a child’s parents live more than 100 miles apart.

SPOs are usually not awarded when the child is under three years old, when the court is concerned about the safety of the child around their non-custodial parent, or when there is any other reason why the SPO would not serve the child’s best interests. In these situations, the court may impose modified protection orders requiring visitation time with a non-custodial parent in The Colony to be supervised by a neutral third party or trusted family member.

Learn More About Visitation Rights in The Colony from a Knowledgeable Attorney

This is just a brief overview of how the court usually approaches visitation rights in The Colony. It is worth reiterating that the court has significant leeway to deviate from the Standard Possession Order if it sees fit, and it can be crucial for non-custodial parents to be proactive about pursuing their preferred custody arrangement.

Support from a lawyer can be vital to achieving a positive result in this complicated and often-contentious process. Call today to learn more.

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Meet Matt Towson
Meet Matt Towson
Meet Matt Towson