Legal Information: Texas


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July 20, 2016

What is “possession and access” (visitation)?

In Texas, visitation is called possession of and access to a child.   A parent can get possession and access unless the judge determines it is not in the best interests of the child and will endanger the physical or emotional well-being of the child.*1

During the time that a parent has possession of his/her child, s/he has:

  • the duty of care, control, protection, and reasonable discipline of the child;
  • the duty to support the child, including providing the child with clothing, food, shelter, and medical and dental care not involving an invasive procedure;
  • the right to consent for the child to medical and dental care not involving an invasive procedure; and
  • the right to direct the moral and religious training of the child.*2

A judge will create a visitation schedule, called a standard possession order, using certain guidelines.  A standard possession order is used for children 3 years of age or older.*3   For a child less than 3 years old, the judge will create a visitation schedule that s/he thinks is appropriate.*4  See What factors will a judge consider for a child who is less than 3 years old? for more information.

A possession order can be changed to meet the particular needs of the managing conservator(s), possessory conservator and the child(ren).*5

*1 Tex. Fam. Code § 153.191
*2 Tex. Fam. Code § 153.074
*3 Tex. Fam. Code § 153.251
*4 Tex. Fam. Code § 153.254
*5 Tex. Fam. Code § 153.253