I already have a court order – when do I get to see my child?

Read your order. It describes the minimum amount of time your child will spend with each parent. Not all orders are alike. If you have your order and have questions, call the Access and Visitation hotline and for help to understand it. Hotline attorneys may ask you to read your order over the phone.

  • If you and the other parent agree on a new or different schedule, the court will not enforce that schedule – it’s up to you and the other parent to follow through on your agreement.
  • If you and the other parent cannot agree on a new schedule or if one of you decides that the new schedule isn’t working, both of you must follow the court-ordered schedule.

Even if the court orders the standard possession order (SPO), the parties can ALWAYS agree to a different parenting schedule if the need arises. The key word is agree. Getting along with the other parent can play a huge part in being flexible with your visits with your child. As soon as one party no longer agrees with the alternative schedule, both parties are required to start following the SPO exactly as it is written.

How do I know if I have an SPO?

Possession order is the court’s phrase for parenting time. Sometimes it is also called visitation. Parenting time/possession orders state when the child (ren) will be with each parent or guardian.

  • In most cases, both parents share parental rights and responsibilities (called joint managing conservatorship).
  • Usually, one parent has the right to determine where the child (ren) lives. (This parent is also called the custodial parent.)

Texas has a standard possession order (SPO) for most parents. This is a plan for parenting your child that describes the minimum amount of time your child will spend with each parent. The parenting plan splits time between the noncustodial parent and custodial parent while still allowing the child to have a stable schedule.

  • You and the other parent may decide to work out a different schedule than is in the order. That’s okay, as long as you both agree to the new schedule.
  • If you and the other parent agree on a new schedule, the court will not enforce that schedule – it’s up to you and the other parent to follow through on your agreement.
  • If you and the other parent cannot agree on a new schedule, if one of you decides that the new schedule isn’t working, both of you must follow the court-ordered schedule unless one of you files a motion to modify it with the court that issued the order.
  • If one parent stops following the court order, the other parent can enforce the order in court after attempting to resolve the issue outside of court