Divorcing couples in Texas who have children usually must make difficult custody decisions that affect the entire family. State courts usually have control over the final arrangements and act in the best interests of the children.
Both parents and children alike must learn and abide by the mandates set during court proceedings, and understanding the rules of visitation and possession may help make the transition simpler.
The Texas State Law Library notes that state courts use several different definitions related to custody and that help establish both guidelines and limitations for each parent, no matter what the courts decide regarding who the children live with and whether the other parent receives visitation rights. There are several words and phrases Texas courts use, including:
Once the courts settle child custody questions in a specific hearing, the term “possession” usually refers to any visitation orders set up during a custody hearing.
Despite which parent wins custody, he or she will likely receive possession orders from the courts. These papers outline whatever visitation rights the non-custodial parent has, and both parents must follow them or risk having their rights modified or canceled. Either parent can alert the local Texas courts if they believe the other parent is not following the orders. These documents usually only outline visitation orders for parents and not for other members of the family.
Parents who find possession orders confusing can request clarification from the court so they avoid inadvertently violating the guidelines. Such a request usually requires court formality, although this may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.