Possession and Access
When parents end their relationship, one of the critical issues that must be decided is how custody of their children will be divided. Possession and access determinations must be in the best interest of the children involved, and in many cases, courts will order shared parental rights and access to the children. If you are involved in a custody dispute, it is important to understand what measures you can take to protect your rights, and you should speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. The dedicated Dallas child custody attorneys of McClure Law Group can inform you of your options and help you to seek an arrangement that benefits both you and your child.Possession and Access Orders in Texas
In Texas, custody of a child is divided into conservatorship, which represents legal custody, and possession and access, which refers to physical custody. The parent that gets to choose a child’s primary residence is referred to as the primary conservator. The court’s main concern in any custody case involving a parenting plan is what is in the child’s best interest. Generally, it is assumed that it is beneficial for a child to have a continued relationship with both parents, regardless of their gender or marital status. Thus, in most cases, a court will issue a standard possession order, which states that either parent can have possession of a child whenever both parents agree.
If the parents cannot come to an agreement, possession rights under a standard possession order depend on how far apart the parents live. In other words, if parents live within 100 miles of one another, the parent the child does not reside with has the right to possession of the child on Thursday nights during the school year, alternating holidays, the first, third, and fifth weekend of the month, and for thirty days in the summer. If the parents live more than 100 miles apart, no Thursday visitation will be ordered, and the number of weekend visits may be reduced, but the length of the possession in the summer may be increased.
While the standard possession order is presumed to be in the best interest of a child, in some instances, the court will find that the standard possession order is inappropriate and will issue a modified possession order. Generally, a modified possession order may set forth any division of possession as long as it is in the best interest of the child. Additionally, the presumption regarding the standard possession order does not apply to children under the age of three.
The possession order may also set forth what access a parent is permitted to have with the child when the child is in the possession of the other parent. Access refers to contact and communication, such as the parent’s right to speak to a child on the phone or via text or email.Modifying and Enforcing Possession and Access Orders
If one parent prevents visitation or otherwise fails to comply with an order defining possession and access, the other parent can seek legal intervention to enforce the order by filing a motion with the court. If the court issues a ruling but a parent continues to withhold access to a child, the parent may be held in contempt, which can carry significant penalties.
Sometimes life changes will prompt one parent to seek a modification of a possession and access order. A court will typically only modify an order if the party pursuing a change demonstrates that there has been a significant and lasting change in circumstances that necessitates an adjustment. The parent must also show that the modification sought will be in the child’s best interest.Meet with a Trusted Attorney in Dallas
Possession and access disputes are often contentious and emotionally charged, and it is important for parents to seek legal counsel to assist them in seeking fair results. The trusted lawyers of McClure Law Group are mindful of what is at stake in custody cases. If we represent you, we will work tirelessly to help you seek an arrangement that allows you to exercise your parental rights. Our primary office is in Dallas, and we are available for consultations at our Collin County office in Plano. We frequently represent people in custody cases in Dallas, Rockwall, Worth, Garland, Richardson, Frisco, Fort McKinney, and Irving. We also assist parties with family law matters in cities throughout Dallas, Denton, Grayson, Collin, Rockwall, and Tarrant Counties. You can reach us at 214.692.8200 or via our form online to set up a meeting.