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Legal Information: Texas


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November 5, 2020

When can a parent who committed domestic violence or sexual assault be denied all access to a child?

The judge can deny a parent all access to a child if:

  • there is a history/pattern of committing family violence within the two years before filing the petition or while the court proceedings are pending (taking into consideration any final protective order that was issued within the past two years);
  • the judge finds that the abusive parent committed sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault that led to the child being conceived (even if there was no arrest or conviction); or
  • the parties were relatives and had sexual contact that was prohibited by law, which led to the child being conceived (even if there was no arrest or conviction).1

However, even if any of the above are true, the judge can still grant access if:

  • the judge decides that allowing the parent access is not a danger to the child’s physical or emotional health;
  • the judge decides that access is in the best interest of the child; and
  • the judge approves a possession order that will protect the child and any other victim from the abusive parent. The order may require:
    • supervised access;
    • exchange of the child in a protective setting;
    • that the parent not drink alcohol and not use any drugs within 12 hours before the time the child is with him/her (including while the child is with him/her); or
    • that the parent attend a batterer’s prevention program or any program the judge finds appropriate.2

1 Tex. Fam. Code § 153.004(d),(f)
2 Tex. Fam. Code § 153.004(d-1)