Divorced or unmarried parents who are sharing custody of a child may worry that they will lose access to their child. Being unable to live with your child or make decisions regarding their future is many parents’ worst nightmare. 

In Texas, it is possible for parents to lose custody of their children in specific circumstances. They may include child abuse, child neglect, and chronic substance abuse or mental health issues on the part of the parent. A parent may also be designated as a “noncustodial” parent, meaning they do not live with the child or have primary custody but still have visitation rights. 

Under a standard visitation order, a noncustodial parent will still be able to see their child and know their whereabouts. ​​However, various factors can determine how a court decides custody and visitation, and any of the following outcomes can be possible. 

  1. The court may order that visitation be suspended or reduced. If a court determines that visitation between a child and a noncustodial parent is detrimental to the child, the court may order that visitation be suspended or reduced. However, the court cannot suspend or reduce visitation unless there is proof that visitation is harmful to the child.
  2. The court may award sole custody to one parent. If one party is awarded sole legal and physical custody, he or she will have primary responsibility for making decisions regarding the child’s upbringing. This includes deciding where the child lives, attends school, and receives medical care.
  3. The court may award joint child custody. If both parents agree to joint legal and physical custody, they will share decision-making responsibilities with each other. They will also share parenting time with the child.
  4. The court may allow a parent to regain custody. If a parent wants to regain custody of their children after losing it, they must prove by clear and convincing evidence that returning them to the home would be in the best interest of the children. This means that the parent must show that returning the children to the home will benefit the children more than continuing with the current arrangement.

This blog does not constitute legal advice. If you have questions about a child support case in Texas, reach out to Sandoval Family Law today.