If you share custody of your child or children with a co-parent, you may be wondering how traveling will affect your parenting agreement and whether you will be able to travel outside the state with your children. Here is a general overview of Texas law as it relates to travel and child custody agreements. 

In Texas law, parents are called “conservators,” and a parent can either be managing conservator (the primary caretaker) or a possessory conservator (the custodial parent, whose rights are dictated by the custody agreement.) 

While specific custody agreements can always be worked out, Texas law also provides set templates—which include a provision for splitting time during holidays and school breaks.

Most Texas visitation schedules set visitation on the first, third and fifth weekends of the month. Holidays take priority over weekend visitations, though—make sure to check your possession order to determine when visitations happen. It’s usually wise not to plan any extended trips that might infringe on weekend visitation rights.

Texas law generally grants a hefty period of summer possession to noncustodial parents. Usually, that lasts around a month (and can be up to 42 days, if the noncustodial parent lives over 100 miles away.) This is usually a good time for non-custodial parents to take an extended vacation and see family that can’t otherwise be seen during the school year. However, it’s important to follow the requirements of your specific family court order, particularly as far as giving notice to the managing conservator about your intentions to travel. Child custody agreements may also contain certain travel restrictions—and it’s important to abide by them. 

It’s easy to get discouraged and feel as if you’ll never be able to take a family vacation again. This isn’t true—but child custody cases do complicate things. It’s hard to plan an extended vacation when the primary conservator can’t have consecutive days or weeks of possessions at any point during the year. If you want to schedule such a trip, you have to work it out with your co-parent. This is a good reason to keep the lines of communication open, if at all possible.

In essence, while you won’t have the ability to drop everything and go on a trip with your children, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a nice holiday or summer vacation. The team at Sandoval Family Law can help you understand your options—and figure out how to have the best family vacations possible.  

At Sandoval Law Firm we understand the stress of dealing with divorce, child custody and domestic violence. Our firm consists of founding attorney Raul Sandoval Jr. and a dedicated support staff. Mr. Sandoval earned his law degree from Texas Tech University School of Law. Since that time, he has been practicing family law in the Austin area, as well as teaching seminars, classes and other forms of professional development.