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New Visitation Law in Texas Added 50-Mile Category September 1

New Visitation Law in Texas Added 50-Mile Category September 1

It’s sometimes said that the only constant in life is that things will change. That saying applies to the law, too. In its most recent session, the Texas legislature passed Section 153.3171 of the Family Code. In effect, this section strengthens the visitation schedule for parents living within fifty or fewer miles of each other. The experienced family law attorneys at Houston’s Boudreaux | Hunter & Associates, L.L.C., are familiar with this new law and can help you to use it.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the quality of legal representation you may expect from Boudreaux | Hunter & Associates, L.L.C. The firm’s two partners, Shannon Boudreaux and Kevin Hunter, have teamed up to create an exceptional law firm. Ms. Boudreaux and Mr. Hunter both received honors from the South Texas College of Law, which they both attended. Ms. Boudreaux made the Dean’s List, while Mr. Hunter excelled in oral advocacy. Each has received multiple awards for client satisfaction.

The Old Visitation Law

Of course, since they are experienced family law attorney, Ms. Boudreaux and Mr. Hunter have written about Texas’ visitation laws. Under those laws, the Standard Possession Order sets forth different visitation periods when the parents live 100 miles or less apart, and more than 100 miles apart.

The Standard Possession Order also sets forth specific times and days when the parents must pick up and return their child. Unless the Court finds that it is not in the child’s best interest, the parent with visitation could elect an “expanded” time schedule. The expanded schedule changes the pickup and drop-off times increasing the time the parent with visitation sees the child.

The New Fifty-Mile Visitation Law

Under the old law, the parent with visitation could elect “expanded” lengths of time. The new law provides that courts shall grant that parent the expanded schedule if the parties live 50 miles or less apart unless an exception applies-. This table shows the new 50 miles or less law makes from the Standard Possession Order:

 

Visitation Type Standard Possession Order “Expanded” Visitation
Weekends First, third and (if there is one) fifth weekends, from 6:00 p.m. Friday until 6:00 p.m. Sunday. First, third, and (if there is one) fifth weekend beginning when school lets out Friday and lasts until school resumes on Monday.
Thursday Nights Every Thursday evening during the school year from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Every Thursday during the school year beginning when school lets out Thursday and lasts until school resumes on Friday.
Spring Break Spring Break alternates yearly between the parents, from 6:00 p.m. on the day school lets out for Spring Break until 6:00 p.m. the night before school resumes. The new law changes the pickup time to when school lets out for Spring Break. The return time of 6:00 p.m. the night before school resumes stays the same.
Christmas Vacation Alternates yearly, pickup time on day school lets out is 6:00 p.m. Pickup time is when school lets out for Christmas Vacation.
Thanksgiving Vacation Alternates yearly, pickup time on day school lets out is 6:00 p.m. Pickup time is when school lets out for Thanksgiving Vacation.
Father’s Day Father picks child up 6:00 p.m. Friday, returns child 6:00 p.m. Father’s Day. (Unless the Father is already entitled to possession.) Return time is 8:00 a.m. on the day after Father’ Day.
Mother’s Day Mother picks child up 6:00 p.m. Friday, returns child 6:00 p.m. Mother’s Day. (Unless the Mother is already entitled to possession.) Mother picks child up when school lets out Friday, returns child when school resumes Monday after Mother’s Day.
Weekend Visitation Followed by Monday Student Holiday or Teacher In-Service Day Weekend visitation ends at 6:00 p.m. Monday. Weekend visitation ends at 8:00 a.m. Tuesday.

Limitations on the Change

There are restrictions on the right of the parent with visitation to have “extended” visitation when the parents live 50 or fewer miles apart. They include:

  • The parent with visitation opts out of some or all of the extended version.
  • The court is denying, restricting, or limiting visitation in the best interest of the child.
  • The court finds that some or all of the extended times are not in the best interest of the child. This finding can be based on:
    • The circumstances of the parents and where they live make the possession schedule unworkable or inappropriate.
    • Prior to the filing of the present lawsuit, the parent with visitation did not frequently and continuously exercise visitation.
    • For any other reason the court considers relevant.
  • The statute coming into force does not amount to a material and substantial change of circumstances that would allow modification of an existing order.

Let Us Help You

The attorneys at Boudreaux | Hunter & Associates, L.L.C., stand ready to help you with custody and visitation. Let us put our many years of experience to work for you. We work throughout the Houston area. Please contact us by clicking on the “Contact Us” tab above or calling (713) 333-4430.

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