It is the public policy of the State of Texas to encourage frequent and continuing contact between a child and a parent for periods of access or visitation, which optimizes the development of a close and nurturing relationship between each parent and the child. In Texas, there is a presumption that exists under the law that a “Standard Possession Order” provides reasonable minimum periods of access or visitation to a non-custodial parent and a minor child. This “Standard Possession Order”, set forth in the Texas family Law Code, is used as a guide to the courts in ordering the terms, conditions, and times of access or visitation. It addresses weekends, holidays, summer vacation, mother’s day, father’s day, among other pertinent days and events.

In ordering the terms, conditions, and times of access or visitation, the courts will be guided not only by the guidelines established by this standard possession order, but also the age, developmental status, needs, circumstances, and best interests of the child. Another factor the courts often consider is the distance between the parent and the child.

Recently, the Texas legislature enacted certain laws that address issues concerning visitation of parents who will be subject to military deployment, military mobilization, or temporary deployment. Some issues addressed are awarding the deployed serviceperson additional periods of visitation to compensate for the terms of deployment or awarding visitation to a designated person, chosen by that serviceperson, if the visitation is in the best interest of the child. Such a designated person, if the court so orders, will have the right to visit with the child for the terms of the military deployment, military mobilization, or temporary military duty. Once no longer actively deployed, the serviceperson will resume their periods of access or visitation.

The information presented here is a general guideline and should not be interpreted as a guarantee. Results may vary from case to case depending on the facts and circumstances of your case.

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