What Are a Noncustodial Parent's Rights in Texas?

In Texas, a noncustodial parent has many important legal rights, such as visitation on alternating weekends and time on alternating holidays, and an extended duration during certain times of the year. They also may have the right to make important decisions on their child’s behalf.

Due to the complex laws that surround conservatorships in Texas, it can sometimes be difficult for parents to fully understand their rights and responsibilities when they must split time with their child with the child’s other parent.

Many parents fear missing out on important moments and milestones in their child’s life, which is why it’s essential for them to ensure they have a firm grasp of what they can expect as noncustodial parents.

What Is a Noncustodial Parent?

Before we discuss what a noncustodial parent’s rights are, we should address who is considered a noncustodial parent. Also called the possessory conservator in Texas, a noncustodial parent is a parent who doesn’t have primary custody of their child. Even so, this doesn’t mean noncustodial parents aren’t without many important rights.

The Noncustodial Parent’s Rights

In many cases, noncustodial parents are entitled to rights related to visitation and making important decisions on their child’s behalf.

Visitation Rights

The character of a noncustodial parent’s visitation rights reflects how far they live from the child’s residence with the custodial parent.

If a noncustodial parent lives within 100 miles of their child, the following rights may apply:

  • Visitation on alternating weekends
  • Visitation on Thursday evenings of each week
  • Time on alternating holidays
  • Extended time (30 days) during summer break

If a noncustodial parent lives more than 100 miles from their child, the following rights may apply:

  • Visitation on alternating weekends or once per month
  • Time on alternating holidays
  • Time during spring break
  • Extended time (42 days) during summer break

Other Legal Rights

In addition to a noncustodial parent’s visitation rights, they may also retain legal custody. This type of custody refers to rights the noncustodial parent retains to make important decisions on various aspects of their child’s life, such as their education, schooling, and religious upbringing.

Legal custody is often jointly held with the custodial parent, but the noncustodial parent may be granted sole discretion to make particular decisions without the other parent’s input (and vice versa).

Can a Custodial Parent Deny Visitation?

No. Under no circumstances can either parent deny the other what they are legally provided by the court in a conservatorship agreement.

Even if a noncustodial parent is behind on their child support payments, the custodial parent may not withhold their child; likewise, a noncustodial parent may not withhold support or alimony if the custodial parent is refusing visitation.

If you are a noncustodial parent and believe the custodial parent is violating your rights, you can seek to enforce or even modify the custody order to remedy the breach. Taking any kind of legal action, however, is best accomplished with professional assistance.

Kay Polk, Attorney at Law Can Help

Whether you are attempting to establish child custody rights for the first time or require assistance with the enforcement or a modification of your order, Kay Polk, Attorney at Law can help. Our attorney is highly experienced in family law matters, including those pertaining to child custody.

Rest assured that there can be an agreeable solution to whatever dispute you may have encountered, and Kay Polk, Attorney at Law can help you work toward it.

For more information or to request a consultation, contact us online.