The Access & Visitation Hotline and POLL LiveChat are closed during the following dates in observance of the holiday season:
We look forward to assisting you with your parenting time needs upon our return.
A neutral person, who does not have an interest in the case, appointed by the court to help parents in resolving conflicts related to their court order in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship or divorce decree. A parenting coordinator is not required to testify about communications the coordinator had with the parties.
A trained neutral facilitator appointed by the court to help parents with parenting conflicts related to their court order in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship or divorce decree. A parenting facilitator may be required to testify about communications with the parties, the basis of the recommendations, and the parties’ compliance with the recommendations.
Parenting Plan (Possession or Visitation Order)
This legal document, also called the possession or visitation order, sets out the minimum amount of time the child spends with mom and dad. The order is authorized by the Texas Family Code, Section 153.311.
Paternity means legal fatherhood. If a man is not married to the mother of his child, he has to take certain steps to become the legal father. A legal father has certain rights and responsibilities toward his child. Click here to watch a short video from the Office of the Attorney General on the Benefits of Legal Fatherhood.
Petition / Child Support Petition
A petition is a document filed with a court that starts a legal action. A person may file a child support petition with the district clerk if you are not applying for child support services through the Office of the Attorney General (OAG). When there is an OAG child support case, the OAG’s office may file a petition, but the OAG files its lawsuits on behalf of the State of Texas.
Possession and Access / Parenting Time / Visitation
Possession is the court’s word for parenting time. Many call it visitation, parenting time, or possession. The possession order may be a temporary or final court order, authorized by Texas law, that sets out the minimum amount of time the child spends with mom and dad. The order may be included in your Decree of Divorce, or if you were not married, a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR–“Sapsir”) Order.
“Possession” of your child means you can see the child in person and decide where the child goes. It is your time with your child.
“Access” means that you can interact with your child by phone, text messages or by Face Time, Skype, or other social media. You also can attend your child’s extracurricular activities and have access to your child’s school or medical and dental records.
Also known as noncustodial parent or non-residential parent. This is the parent who pays child support (obligor).
Presumed father means a man who, as described below, is recognized as the father of a child until that status is rebutted or confirmed in a judicial proceeding or by an agreed Acknowledgment of Paternity signed by the child’s mother, father, and presumed father, that included the denial that the presumed father was the child’s father and was filed with the Vital Statistics Unit.
Generally, a man is presumed to be the father if the child was born or conceived during the marriage. More specifically, a man is a presumed father if:
- he is married to the mother of the child and the child is born during the marriage;
- he is married to the mother of the child and the child is born before the 301st day after the date the marriage is terminated by death, annulment, declaration of invalidity, or divorce;
- he married the mother of the child before the birth of the child in apparent compliance with law, even if the attempted marriage is or could be declared invalid, and the child is born during the invalid marriage or before the 301st day after the date the marriage is terminated by death, annulment, declaration of invalidity, or divorce;
- he married the mother of the child after the birth of the child in apparent compliance with law, regardless of whether the marriage is or could be declared invalid, he voluntarily asserted his paternity of the child, and:
- the assertion is in a record filed with the vital statistics unit;
- he is voluntarily named as the child’s father on the child’s birth certificate; or
- he promised in a record to support the child as his own; or
- during the first two years of the child’s life, he continuously resided in the household in which the child resided and he represented to others that the child was his own.
A presumption of paternity established under this section may be rebutted only by:
- an adjudication under a court proceeding to adjudicate parentage (see Subchapter G of the Texas Family Code); or
- the filing of a valid denial of paternity by a presumed father in conjunction with the filing by another person of a valid acknowledgment of paternity as provided by Texas Family Code Section 160.305.
A judge may:
-Send to jail
-Place on probation
-Order make-up visitation
-Assess a fine
-Order payment of the other parent’s attorney fees
-Revoke or suspend a license to drive, an occupational license, or a hunting or fishing license