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How Is Child Custody Determined in Texas?

Updated: Nov 22, 2022

Child custody in Texas centers around determining Conservatorship and Possession. The custodial parent has primary rights, the noncustodial parent has secondary rights. The father and mother can assume either role.

Conservatorship is the responsibility to make decisions in the child's or children's best interest. Joint Managing means both parents work together. Sole Managing allows one parent to make all decisions.

Possession is the split of physical custody of the child or children. If both parents are able to agree on a schedule, any schedule can be used. If the parents cannot agree on a schedule, the court will determine the schedule. There are two types of possession schedules in Texas.

Standard Possession means that the secondary parent has the following visitation rights.

  • First, third and fifth weekends of every month (6pm Friday to 6pm Sunday)

  • Thursday (After school to 8pm)

  • Alternating holidays

  • Minimum of 30 days during summer vacation

Extended Standard Possession follows the same schedule, but the secondary parent will take possession on Thursday evenings instead of Friday evenings on the first, third, and fifth weekends. This also entitles the secondary parent to Thursday nights on the weeks that they do not have possession over the weekend.

If the parents live within 50 miles of each other, extended standard possession will apply unless the secondary parent opts for standard possession.

For parents living more than 50 miles apart and less than 100 miles apart, standard possession is very likely to apply.

For parents living more than 100 miles apart, the secondary parent is entitled to the following.

  • One weekend per month (6pm Friday to 6pm Sunday)

  • Alternating holidays

  • Spring break

  • Minimum of 42 days during the summer

While a judge may make minor adjustments based on the stability of the homes, child's preferences, parenting skills, etc. any outcome outside of the above is unlikely unless the situation is extremely unique. Many parents go to court in hopes that the judge will allow a 50/50 visitation, but that outcome is very unlikely.

Again, if you and your spouse can agree on the terms without going to court, any arrangements can be made. In most cases it is in your and your spouse's best interest to work together and determine the scheduling without going to court. This will save you both money and allow more flexibility to meet your scheduling needs.

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