What are my options if the parenting (visitation/possession) schedule in my order doesn’t work for me?

The court order is your fall back schedule when you and the other parent don’t agree. If you both can agree to temporarily change the plan, there’s no need to return to court. Children’s needs change as they grow. Children’s schedules change as they move from pre-school, elementary, and middle school and into high school. The courts encourage cooperation and flexibility in developing plans to ensure regular, consistent contact with both parents. When you and the other parent cannot agree, then the court order is the fall back plan you both must follow.

If you need help coming up with a plan that works for both of you, read about mediation and mediation alternatives here. A trained mediator can help both parents focus on the interests of the children and resolve outstanding issues that may be keeping you from reaching a solution. Parents may attend mediation voluntarily or may ask the court to order the parties into mediation.

If the other parent keeps you from spending time with your child on the days and times listed in your court order, you may want to modify your order. This involves filing a motion with a court, and having a hearing in front of a judge. The other parent must be served with the motion and given notice of the hearing. At the hearing, you can explain to the judge why the visitation schedule is not working, and request a new order. You may use a mediator to work out the terms of the new schedule, and submit that to the court or the court may order you both into mediation. Many courts have a separate docket for agreed orders, which gets the new schedule into a court order more quickly than the contested (you don’t agree) docket.

Learn more about modifying (or changing) your visitation schedule, or go to TexasLawHelp.org.

If you need help reaching an agreement, read about mediation and mediation alternatives here.