Carrollton Child Custody Lawyer
Understanding Conservatorship & Possession & Access in Texas
Most parents who go through the divorce process have concerns regarding the emotional well-being of their children. Child custody and visitation schedules are among the decisions that must be made at the time of a divorce. At Malik & Associates, PLLC, our Carrollton visitation and child custody lawyers help our clients resolve custody disputes in the divorce process and after.
If you have questions about custody and visitation in Texas, call (214) 881-2100 for a consultation.
Child Custody or Conservatorship
We understand that it is scary to think how your children’s lives will change after your divorce is finalized, including where they will live and spend their time. Child custody and visitation are among the most contentious aspects of negotiating a divorce settlement. Texas refers to child custody as “conservatorship” and includes the various rights and duties of both parents to their children.
Conservatorship provides parents with specific rights, including the right to:
- Make important decisions for children
- Consent to medical treatment
- Choose the primary home of the child
- Determine where the child will go to school
- Make decisions regarding religious upbringing
Some parents can reach a decision regarding child custody and visitation during the divorce process. When an agreement cannot be reached, however, the court will determine conservatorship using the best interest standard. Our experienced child custody and visitation attorneys in Carrollton understand the legal standards and court processes and have the experience needed to help find the best solutions for their families, including custody arrangements and a visitation schedule.
Can a Parent Refuse to Allow Visitation if Child Support is Not Paid?
No, child support and visitation are not mutually related. Although a court can weigh how much custody and access to the children is being practiced when deciding the amount of child support to be provided to an obligee, neither the court or parent can refuse to grant visits solely because of child support non-payment.
A child's choice can’t be the primary factor in deciding which parent the child resides with in Texas. However, if the child is the age of 12 or older, the court will accept the child's desires as to who he or she wants to live with.
Visitation in Texas
In Texas, visitation is known as “possession and access” and outlines the amount of time children will spend with each parent. Some divorcing couples use the traditional parenting schedules for their families. The law enables you to create a creative solution with your ex-spouse that works best for the needs of your family.
In child custody cases, when both parents can work together and agree to a schedule, the decision is left to them to create a schedule that works for their children. However, parents are often unable to come to an agreement at such an emotional and difficult time. If you are unable to achieve a resolution regarding custody and visitation, the court will make these decisions for you.
At What Age Can a Child Refuse Visitation in Texas?
In Texas, there is no age under 18 that allows for a child to refuse visitation. Visitation is the right of the parent, and it cannot be taken away by the custodial parent or child. The only option would be for the custodial parent to request a modification of orders. Even then, it would be difficult to convince a judge that having visitation rights cut off is beneficial for the child.
If the non-custodial parent is concerned that the child refuses visitation, then that parent should focus on mending the relationship first and foremost. Some people resort to professional counseling to try and nurture the relationship, while identifying the root causes of tension.
If the custodial parent knowingly violates their visitation orders, and wrongfully influences the child, he or she can face stiff penalties. These can include jail time and fines up to $10,000. Violations of the orders can come in forms such as:
- Failing to bring the child on time
- Refusing access and communication with the child
- Falsely saying that the child does not want to see you
- Moving to a new address and failing to notify both the non-custodial parent and court
- Adding new activities to the child's daily routine that would intentionally interfere with visitation
Finding a Solution That Works For Your Family
The court does not know you, your ex-spouse, your children, or the rhythm of your family life. For this reason, it is generally best when parents work together to find a schedule that works for them and their children. Our Carrollton child custody and visitation lawyers work to help our clients find inventive solutions that work for their families.
When making decisions regarding custody and visitation, consider:
- Current school activities and social life
- The parent that manages the child’s daily life
- The child’s source of emotional support
- If your work schedule allows for full time parenting
- The best interests of the child
Whether you have a clear plan for your preferred outcome or want to explore the options that are available for you and your children, we can help. Our experienced and knowledgeable attorneys can help you understand the process and guide you every step of the way.
Call (214) 881-2100 to get advice for your unique situation in a consultation in our office.