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What is child custody and visitation and how does they work?

Visitation is something many Texans going through a divorce wonder about. How does it work? Will I be able to see my child? These are just a few of the questions running through the brain of the parent who was not granted child custody.

Visitation is referred to in the courtroom as possession and access. Possession refers to who gets custody of the child; access refers to whether the non-custodial parent will get to have a visitation schedule and, if so, how much.

There are endless ways that visitation can be arranged or mandated -- including standard possession, modified possession and modified-under-three possession. Among the many types, the main difference is how often and how regulated the non-custodial parent is able to interact with the child.

Generally the courts will allow the parents to decide on a visitation arrangement amongst themselves. The goal of this arrangement should be the best interests of the child. This is often how the process is decided.

But when the parents can't agree, the court will order a visitation schedule. If so, the court will decide custody and visitation by asking: What is in the best interests of the child. Sometimes that means the court order will not allow visitation (such as due to a history of family violence or a potential danger to the child). Or the court may limit visitation and require someone to supervise visits between a parent and child.

Parents going through the child-custody-and-visitation process may benefit from discussing their situation with an experienced family-law attorney.

Source: depts.ttu.edu, "What to Expect in Texas Family Law Court," Accessed Jan. 12, 2015

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