Child visitation is one of the most important issues for parents who are separating, especially when compounded with other family legal issues like child support, custody, and divorce. If you’re involved in a child visitation case in Austin, Texas, you need to know how state law may affect your situation and how you can get the best outcome possible.
Evans & Herlihy are veteran Texas child custody and visitation lawyers who can provide you and your family with caring, dedicated support when serious legal matters threaten your children’s best interests. We can advise you on what steps to take to increase the likelihood of a favorable verdict and give you peace of mind, knowing that you have professional advocacy in your corner.
Why Evans & Herlihy?
Evans & Herlihy understand the complexities of Texas child custody laws and can provide you with comprehensive, skilled legal support for both contested and uncontested visitation cases, regardless of which side of the issue you’re on.
We value open communication and make it easy for you to reach out and contact your attorney for updates regarding your case; you’ll always feel informed about what’s happening. We’ll give you all the tools you need to understand the legal process and what to expect at every stage, so you can make critical decisions about your case with confidence.
What Our Clients Are Saying
‘[Evans & Herlihy] were extremely helpful in resolving my case! They knew just what needed to be done and walked me through the process. I would highly recommend!” – David M.
“Scott helped me with the child support modification almost 3 years after my divorce. He is sharp and extremely detail oriented, he quickly realized that my divorce decree was incomplete with missing pages. He helped me to complete my divorce decree while he was working on the child support case. My case lasted a little over a year with a successful outcome. Scott was kind, patient, considerate and always available.” – Marjan A.
“Scott was extremely responsive to my needs and exceeded my expectations in both his work and the outcome. He provides concise and applicable knowledge that is specific to the expertise of Texas Family Law. I would highly recommend Mr. Scott Herlihy for any family law matters.” – Kathy M.
How Visitation Is Decided
Like most other courts in the country, Texas courts determine visitation arrangements based on the child’s best interests, considering their unique needs and circumstances. Many factors go into making this decision, including but not limited to:
- How old the child is
- How old each of the child’s parents are
- The income of each parent
- The health of the child and each of their parents
- Whether any mental health or substance abuse issues are involved
- Where each parent lives and the state of their home environment
- If one of the parents doesn’t want visitation with their child
- If there is evidence that either parent has neglected or abused the child
- The emotional bond between each parent and the child
- If the child is old enough, which parent they prefer to live with.
Types of Visitation Schedules
There are many different ways a visitation schedule can be arranged to benefit the child and meet a court’s parenting time requirements. Here are some examples of common visitation schedules in Texas:
- Every other weekend.The child stays with the primary custodian all but two weekends a month, or every other weekend.
- Every weekend. Parents may also elect to have the child stay with one parent during the school week and for the other parent to take the child every weekend instead of every other. This allows the non-custodial parent more time with the child but may not be ideal for children who have extracurriculars or other activities on the weekends.
- Weeknight evenings. In situations where parents can avoid outsourcing childcare, the noncustodial parent may choose to use their parenting time on weeknights while the primary custodian is still at work. Usually, this is combined with some weekend time to avoid creating a babysitter-only situation.
- Summer break. Summer and holidays like winter or spring break are great times to arrange extended visits for noncustodial parents.
- Supervised visitation. In some cases, particularly when there are allegations of abuse, criminal activity, or illicit substance abuse that could pose a danger to the child, only supervised visitation is allowed. These parents will meet with their child in a neutral setting with a third party to visit for a short while with their children, such as a park or restaurant, and will go back home with the custodial parent.
It may be necessary to revise a court-ordered or approved visitation schedule in certain circumstances, such as when:
- The custodial and noncustodial parent need to switch responsibilities
- The custodial parent remarries and the child will be spending more time at the noncustodial parent’s home
- Either parent suffers an illness or injury that impacts their ability to care for the child
- One spouse is found to be a danger to the child.
To have a visitation schedule modified, the petitioning parent must file an application with the court to have a hearing on the matter. Usually, the petition is granted and a hearing is scheduled, where both parents will have the chance to present evidence and make their case to a judge. The judge will make a decision, focusing on which arrangements are in the best interests of the child involved.
Evans & Herlihy can provide you with empathetic legal representation and responsive support when your family needs it the most.
FAQ: Common Questions About Texas Child Visitation Cases
Which Parent Gets Visitation in Texas?
Generally, both parents are equally entitled to visitation in Texas, unless it can be demonstrated to a judge that allowing it would be detrimental to the child. Either the mother or the father of the child may be awarded any type of custody or visitation arrangement, depending on the circumstances of the case.
How Do I Co-Parent a Child with Someone I Don’t Get Along With?
There are many innovative resources available for those who are co-parenting a child with an ex they don’t get along with, including co-parenting apps that you can download on your phone or other mobile device and use to communicate with one another. Many of these apps send your data – and messages – directly to the court, so parents who have difficult relationships always have evidence should an issue arise.
Can a Parent Lose Their Rights to Child Visitation in Austin?
Rarely, a parent will have their rights to visitation with their child removed by a court, usually only in cases where it’s been proven that the parent poses a direct threat to the child’s safety and well-being. In some cases, parents may voluntarily relinquish their parental rights; however, both parents must agree on the arrangement before it can be finalized according to Texas law.
How Can I Prove That My Child’s Other Parent Shouldn’t Have Visitation?
If you believe that your ex should not have visitation with your child, be prepared to show the court strong evidence that indicates visitation is not in the best interests of the child. Remember that the default is for both parents to have some sort of ongoing relationship with the child, so you will need to clearly illustrate why this should not be the case.
Can I Still Get Visitation with My Child If I Don’t Pay Child Support?
Failure to pay child support in Texas is not a valid reason for a judge to deny visitation rights to either parent, and a parent can continue to see their child regardless of whether they owe back child support or not. However, if a parent continually fails to make payments, there may be serious legal consequences like wage garnishment or imprisonment.
How Our Knowledgeable Child Visitation Lawyers In Austin, TX, Can Help Your Family
Dealing with child custody and visitation laws in Texas is complex and you need experienced legal representation to help you navigate through the obstacles ahead. Evans & Herlihy has a proven track record of success and can help petition the court to issue a favorable verdict for you and your family. We understand the sensitive nature of family legal cases that involve children, and our team strives to provide feasible, realistic solutions that work for you.