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Legal Statutes: Texas

UPDATED July 20, 2016

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Subchapter A. General Provisions

back to top153.004. History of Domestic Violence or Sexual Abuse

(a) In determining whether to appoint a party as a sole or joint managing conservator, the court shall consider evidence of the intentional use of abusive physical force, or evidence of sexual abuse, by a party directed against the party's spouse, a parent of the child, or any person younger than 18 years of age committed within a two-year period preceding the filing of the suit or during the pendency of the suit.

(b) The court may not appoint joint managing conservators if credible evidence is presented of a history or pattern of past or present child neglect, or physical or sexual abuse by one parent directed against the other parent, a spouse, or a child, including a sexual assault in violation of Section 22.011 or 22.021, Penal Code, that results in the other parent becoming pregnant with the child. A history of sexual abuse includes a sexual assault that results in the other parent becoming pregnant with the child, regardless of the prior relationship of the parents. It is a rebuttable presumption that the appointment of a parent as the sole managing conservator of a child or as the conservator who has the exclusive right to determine the primary residence of a child is not in the best interest of the child if credible evidence is presented of a history or pattern of past or present child neglect, or physical or sexual abuse by that parent directed against the other parent, a spouse, or a child.

(c) The court shall consider the commission of family violence or sexual abuse in determining whether to deny, restrict, or limit the possession of a child by a parent who is appointed as a possessory conservator.

(d) The court may not allow a parent to have access to a child for whom it is shown by a preponderance of the evidence that:

(1) there is a history or pattern of committing family violence during the two years preceding the date of the filing of the suit or during the pendency of the suit; or

(2) the parent engaged in conduct that constitutes an offense under Section 21.02, 22.011, 22.021, or 25.02, Penal Code, and that as a direct result of the conduct, the victim of the conduct became pregnant with the parent's child.

(d-1) Notwithstanding Subsection (d), the court may allow a parent to have access to a child if the court:

(1) finds that awarding the parent access to the child would not endanger the child's physical health or emotional welfare and would be in the best interest of the child; and

(2) renders a possession order that is designed to protect the safety and well-being of the child and any other person who has been a victim of family violence committed by the parent and that may include a requirement that:

(A) the periods of access be continuously supervised by an entity or person chosen by the court;

(B) the exchange of possession of the child occur in a protective setting;

(C) the parent abstain from the consumption of alcohol or a controlled substance, as defined by Chapter 481, Health and Safety Code, within 12 hours prior to or during the period of access to the child; or

(D) the parent attend and complete a battering intervention and prevention program as provided by Article 42.141, Code of Criminal Procedure, or, if such a program is not available, complete a course of treatment under Section 153.010.

(e) It is a rebuttable presumption that it is not in the best interest of a child for a parent to have unsupervised visitation with the child if credible evidence is presented of a history or pattern of past or present child neglect or physical or sexual abuse by that parent directed against the other parent, a spouse, or a child.

(f) In determining under this section whether there is credible evidence of a history or pattern of past or present child neglect or physical or sexual abuse by a parent directed against the other parent, a spouse, or a child, the court shall consider whether a protective order was rendered under Chapter 85, Title 4, [FN1] against the parent during the two-year period preceding the filing of the suit or during the pendency of the suit.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 774, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 787, § 3, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 586, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 642, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003; Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., ch. 907 (H.B. 1228), §§ 1, 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2013.