The pain of divorce can be significant, yet perhaps even more so is that which comes with the separation created when one parent’s custodial rights are restricted. Texas law does allow for one parent to be named as sole managing conservator, while the other may be designated as the possessory conservator. This does not, however, lessen the role that a possessory conservator can have in his or her children’s lives.
According to the Texas Family Code, the state recognizes the importance that children should have a strong relationship with both parents. Thus, it is stipulated that both managing and possessory conservators may have as much possession and access to their kids as is needed in order to form a close and continuing relationship. Exactly how long possession periods should be is determined together by both parents or by the court.
A common question many in Texas may have for an Arlington divorce lawyer is whether being named possessory conservator limits one’s parental rights. The answer is no, unless the court enacts specific restrictions. A parent’s parental responsibilities do not change when the kids are in his or her possession, either. Regarding visitation, divorced couples are permitted to set their own schedules, provided they are approved by the court.
Visitation rights should be fair for a possessory conservator. In the absence of an agreed-upon visitation schedule developed by a divorced couple, Texas law allows a possessory conservator to have the kids on the first, third, and fifth weekends of each month, as well as every Thursday night. Possessory conservators can also get the kids for up to 30 days during the summer and are entitled to custody for the week of spring break every even-numbered year.
The guidelines governing visitation and custody for possessory conservators in Texas apply only when the children involved are over the age of three. For kids younger than that, the court considers special circumstances when developing a visitation schedule, balancing the need for newborns, infants, and toddlers to develop bonds with both parents while also taking into account the effect separation from the managing conservator may have on such young children.