When parents divorce, an established visitation schedule will become part of the custody orders with which parents must comply. Family law attorneys can help divorcing parents create an agreeable and workable visitation schedule to present to the court for approval. Laws concerning visitation with children under age of 3 are different, however, than standard visitation laws. Therefore, a child’s age must always be considered by divorce attorneys when assisting parents in creating visitation schedules.
Parent’s Visitation in Texas
The family courts in Texas give guidance on the subject of parental visitation. This is done through a Standard Possession Order. The order delegates the minimum amount of visitation a parent will receive based on certain circumstances of the divorce and other pertinent factors. While parents may decide their own visitation schedule to be presented to the court for approval, the SPO gives the basis for determining an acceptable schedule. With the help of competent, qualified family law attorneys, this guideline can aid parents in coming up with a child visitation schedule that meets their needs and gives adequate time for a child to spend with each parent.
Child Visitation Rights
Even though divorce attorneys and parents may create their own desired visitation schedule for presentation to the family court, there are specific rules that apply to visitation with children under age of 3. The court will consider many factors in determining a visitation schedule because children under three have very different needs than children who are older. The SPO might be assigned, but the court will first look into the many varying factors concerning the individual child before doing so.
Factors such as emotional and mental development, the child’s age and length of parental separation will be considered when creating a suitable visitation schedule during such formative years for a child under age three. Some of the most crucial criteria to be considered in setting parental visitation are factors including what encourages the most healthy development, what helps foster a good relationship with each parent, and what will benefit the child most. To avoid potential emotional problems like trust issues and separation anxiety in the child, it may be necessary to provide more visitation time than a Standard Possession Order provides. A younger child typically requires more contact and care with both parents to achieve optimal development. After a child turns three years old, the usual SPO is typically instituted, or parents may create their own agreeable visitation schedule.
More Visitation for a Younger Child
It is known and accepted that younger children require more time with and attention from parents. Because of this fact, child visitation guidelines consider two specific developmental periods for children under three years of age. First is the period from birth to 18 months old. To help babies in this age group develop equal trust in both parents, frequent visits with the non-custodial parent are recommended as though the family was still intact. Second is the period from age 18 months to three years old. During this time, it is advisable that an increased number of visits continue for the child to keep developing trust and come to understand that the non-custodial parent is dependable and still present.
Of course, it is understood that there may be variations in a court-ordered visitation schedule based on specific circumstances in each separate case. The court will consider any and all extenuating circumstances presented. The heavy emphasis on increased visits for a child under the age of three, however, not only helps guard the child visitation rights of both parents, but it helps pave the way for the standard visitation schedule that will become effective when the child reaches three years old.
Covington Law Firm Can Help!
A divorce can be very challenging, as family law attorneys are well aware. Parents in such a situation have a duty to provide an optimal environment for their children of any age. Even more attention must be given, though, to the specific needs of children under the age of three. A highly qualified family lawyer will be able to discuss required visitation rules, child visitation rights, and plans for the intensive visitation needs of a child under three years old. This can help determine the best visitation schedule and provide what’s best for the child in all regards. Contact us, we’re here to help!