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FAMILY CODE
CHAPTER 153. CONSERVATORSHIP, POSSESSION, AND ACCESS
SUBCHAPTER A. GENERAL PROVISIONS
§ 153.001. PUBLIC POLICY. (a) The public policy of this state is to: (1) assure that children will have frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interest of the child; (2) provide a safe, stable, and nonviolent environment for the child; and (3) encourage parents to share in the rights and duties of raising their child after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage. (b) A court may not render an order that conditions the right of a conservator to possession of or access to a child on the payment of child support. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, § 25, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 787, § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1999. § 153.002. BEST INTEREST OF CHILD. The best interest of the child shall always be the primary consideration of the court in determining the issues of conservatorship and possession of and access to the child. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. § 153.003. NO DISCRIMINATION BASED ON SEX OR MARITAL STATUS. The court shall consider the qualifications of the parties without regard to their marital status or to the sex of the party or the child in determining: (1) which party to appoint as sole managing conservator; (2) whether to appoint a party as joint managing conservator; and (3) the terms and conditions of conservatorship and possession of and access to the child. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. § 153.004. HISTORY OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. (a) In determining whether to appoint a party as a sole or joint managing conservator, the court shall consider evidence of the intentional use of abusive physical force by a party against the party's spouse, a parent of the child, or any person younger than 18 years of age committed within a two-year period preceding the filing of the suit or during the pendency of the suit. (b) The court may not appoint joint managing conservators if credible evidence is presented of a history or pattern of past or present child neglect, or physical or sexual abuse by one parent directed against the other parent, a spouse, or a child, including a sexual assault in violation of Section 22.011 or 22.021, Penal Code, that results in the other parent becoming pregnant with the child. A history of sexual abuse includes a sexual assault that results in the other parent becoming pregnant with the child, regardless of the prior relationship of the parents. It is a rebuttable presumption that the appointment of a parent as the sole managing conservator of a child or as the conservator who has the exclusive right to determine the primary residence of a child is not in the best interest of the child if credible evidence is presented of a history or pattern of past or present child neglect, or physical or sexual abuse by that parent directed against the other parent, a spouse, or a child. (c) The court shall consider the commission of family violence in determining whether to deny, restrict, or limit the possession of a child by a parent who is appointed as a possessory conservator. (d) The court may not allow a parent to have access to a child for whom it is shown by a preponderance of the evidence that there is a history or pattern of committing family violence during the two years preceding the date of the filing of the suit or during the pendency of the suit, unless the court: (1) finds that awarding the parent access to the child would not endanger the child's physical health or emotional welfare and would be in the best interest of the child; and (2) renders a possession order that is designed to protect the safety and well-being of the child and any other person who has been a victim of family violence committed by the parent and that may include a requirement that: (A) the periods of access be continuously supervised by an entity or person chosen by the court; (B) the exchange of possession of the child occur in a protective setting; (C) the parent abstain from the consumption of alcohol or a controlled substance, as defined by Chapter 481, Health and Safety Code, within 12 hours prior to or during the period of access to the child; or (D) the parent attend and complete a battering intervention and prevention program as provided by Article 42.141, Code of Criminal Procedure, or, if such a program is not available, complete a course of treatment under Section 153.010. (e) It is a rebuttable presumption that it is not in the best interest of a child for a parent to have unsupervised visitation with the child if credible evidence is presented of a history or pattern of past or present child neglect or physical or sexual abuse by that parent directed against the other parent, a spouse, or a child. (f) In determining under this section whether there is credible evidence of a history or pattern of past or present child neglect or physical or sexual abuse by a parent directed against the other parent, a spouse, or a child, the court shall consider whether a protective order was rendered under Chapter 85, Title 4, against the parent during the two-year period preceding the filing of the suit or during the pendency of the suit. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 774, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 787, § 3, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 586, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 642, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003. § 153.005. APPOINTMENT OF SOLE OR JOINT MANAGING CONSERVATOR. (a) In a suit, the court may appoint a sole managing conservator or may appoint joint managing conservators. If the parents are or will be separated, the court shall appoint at least one managing conservator. (b) A managing conservator must be a parent, a competent adult, an authorized agency, or a licensed child-placing agency. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. § 153.006. APPOINTMENT OF POSSESSORY CONSERVATOR. (a) If a managing conservator is appointed, the court may appoint one or more possessory conservators. (b) The court shall specify the rights and duties of a person appointed possessory conservator. (c) The court shall specify and expressly state in the order the times and conditions for possession of or access to the child, unless a party shows good cause why specific orders would not be in the best interest of the child. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. § 153.007. AGREEMENT CONCERNING CONSERVATORSHIP. (a) To promote the amicable settlement of disputes between the parties to a suit, the parties may enter into a written agreement containing provisions for conservatorship and possession of the child and for modification of the agreement, including variations from the standard possession order. (b) If the court finds that the agreement is in the child's best interest, the court shall render an order in accordance with the agreement. (c) Terms of the agreement contained in the order or incorporated by reference regarding conservatorship or support of or access to a child in an order may be enforced by all remedies available for enforcement of a judgment, including contempt, but are not enforceable as a contract. (d) If the court finds the agreement is not in the child's best interest, the court may request the parties to submit a revised agreement or the court may render an order for the conservatorship and possession of the child. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, § 26, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. § 153.0071. ALTERNATE DISPUTE RESOLUTION PROCEDURES. (a) On written agreement of the parties, the court may refer a suit affecting the parent-child relationship to arbitration. The agreement must state whether the arbitration is binding or non-binding. (b) If the parties agree to binding arbitration, the court shall render an order reflecting the arbitrator's award unless the court determines at a non-jury hearing that the award is not in the best interest of the child. The burden of proof at a hearing under this subsection is on the party seeking to avoid rendition of an order based on the arbitrator's award. (c) On the written agreement of the parties or on the court's own motion, the court may refer a suit affecting the parent-child relationship to mediation. (d) A mediated settlement agreement is binding on the parties if the agreement: (1) provides, in a prominently displayed statement that is in boldfaced type or capital letters or underlined, that the agreement is not subject to revocation; (2) is signed by each party to the agreement; and (3) is signed by the party's attorney, if any, who is present at the time the agreement is signed. (e) If a mediated settlement agreement meets the requirements of Subsection (d), a party is entitled to judgment on the mediated settlement agreement notwithstanding Rule 11, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, or another rule of law. (f) A party may at any time prior to the final mediation order file a written objection to the referral of a suit affecting the parent-child relationship to mediation on the basis of family violence having been committed by another party against the objecting party or a child who is the subject of the suit. After an objection is filed, the suit may not be referred to mediation unless, on the request of a party, a hearing is held and the court finds that a preponderance of the evidence does not support the objection. If the suit is referred to mediation, the court shall order appropriate measures be taken to ensure the physical and emotional safety of the party who filed the objection. The order shall provide that the parties not be required to have face-to-face contact and that the parties be placed in separate rooms during mediation. This subsection does not apply to suits filed under Chapter 262. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, § 27, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 937, § 3, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 178, § 7, eff. Aug. 30, 1999; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1351, § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1999. § 153.0072. COLLABORATIVE LAW. (a) On a written agreement of the parties and their attorneys, a suit affecting the parent-child relationship may be conducted under collaborative law procedures. (b) Collaborative law is a procedure in which the parties and their counsel agree in writing to use their best efforts and make a good faith attempt to resolve the suit affecting the parent-child relationship on an agreed basis without resorting to judicial intervention except to have the court approve the settlement agreement, make the legal pronouncements, and sign the orders required by law to effectuate the agreement of the parties as the court determines appropriate. The parties' counsel may not serve as litigation counsel except to ask the court to approve the settlement agreement. (c) A collaborative law agreement must include provisions for: (1) full and candid exchange of information between the parties and their attorneys as necessary to make a proper evaluation of the case; (2) suspending court intervention in the dispute while the parties are using collaborative law procedures; (3) hiring experts, as jointly agreed, to be used in the procedure; (4) withdrawal of all counsel involved in the collaborative law procedure if the collaborative law procedure does not result in settlement of the dispute; and (5) other provisions as agreed to by the parties consistent with a good faith effort to collaboratively settle the matter. (d) Notwithstanding Rule 11, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, or another rule or law, a party is entitled to judgment on a collaborative law settlement agreement if the agreement: (1) provides, in a prominently displayed statement that is boldfaced, capitalized, or underlined, that the agreement is not subject to revocation; and (2) is signed by each party to the agreement and the attorney of each party. (e) Subject to Subsection (g), a court that is notified 30 days before trial that the parties are using collaborative law procedures to attempt to settle a dispute may not, until a party notifies the court that the collaborative law procedures did not result in a settlement: (1) set a hearing or trial in the case; (2) impose discovery deadlines; (3) require compliance with scheduling orders; or (4) dismiss the case. (f) The parties shall notify the court if the collaborative law procedures result in a settlement. If they do not, the parties shall file: (1) a status report with the court not later than the 180th day after the date of the written agreement to use the procedures; and (2) a status report on or before the first anniversary of the date of the written agreement to use the procedures, accompanied by a motion for continuance that the court shall grant if the status report indicates the desire of the parties to continue to use collaborative law procedures. (g) If the collaborative law procedures do not result in a settlement on or before the second anniversary of the date that the suit was filed, the court may: (1) set the suit for trial on the regular docket; or (2) dismiss the suit without prejudice. Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1022, § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2001. § 153.008. CHILD'S PREFERENCE OF PERSON TO DESIGNATE RESIDENCE. A child 12 years of age or older may file with the court in writing the name of the person who is the child's preference to have the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the child, subject to the approval of the court. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1390, § 12, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1289, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1036, § 5, eff. Sept. 1, 2003. § 153.009. INTERVIEW OF CHILD IN CHAMBERS. (a) In a nonjury trial the court may interview the child in chambers to determine the child's wishes as to conservatorship. (b) When the issue of managing conservatorship is contested, on the application of a party, the court shall interview a child 12 years of age or older and may interview a child under 12 years of age. Interviewing a child does not diminish the discretion of the court. (c) The court may permit the attorney for a party or the attorney ad litem for the child to be present at the interview. (d) On the motion of a party or on the court's own motion, the court shall cause a record of the interview to be made when the child is 12 years of age or older. A record of the interview shall be part of the record in the case. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 781, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1289, § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2001. § 153.010. ORDER FOR FAMILY COUNSELING. (a) If the court finds at the time of a hearing that the parties have a history of conflict in resolving an issue of conservatorship or possession of or access to the child, the court may order a party to: (1) participate in counseling with a mental health professional who: (A) has a background in family therapy; (B) has a mental health license that requires as a minimum a master's degree; and (C) has training in domestic violence if the court determines that the training is relevant to the type of counseling needed; and (2) pay the cost of counseling. (b) If a person possessing the requirements of Subsection (a)(1) is not available in the county in which the court presides, the court may appoint a person the court believes is qualified to conduct the counseling ordered under Subsection (a). Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 645, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. § 153.011. SECURITY BOND. If the court finds that a person who has a possessory interest in a child may violate the court order relating to the interest, the court may order the party to execute a bond or deposit security. The court shall set the amount and condition the bond or security on compliance with the order. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. § 153.012. RIGHT TO PRIVACY; DELETION OF PERSONAL INFORMATION IN RECORDS. The court may order the custodian of records to delete all references in the records to the place of residence of either party appointed as a conservator of the child before the release of the records to another party appointed as a conservator. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. § 153.013. FALSE REPORT OF CHILD ABUSE. (a) If a party to a pending suit affecting the parent-child relationship makes a report alleging child abuse by another party to the suit that the reporting party knows lacks a factual foundation, the court shall deem the report to be a knowingly false report. (b) Evidence of a false report of child abuse is admissible in a suit between the involved parties regarding the terms of conservatorship of a child. (c) If the court makes a finding under Subsection (a), the court shall impose a civil penalty not to exceed $500. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, § 28, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 786, § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. § 153.014. VISITATION CENTERS AND VISITATION EXCHANGE FACILITIES. A county may establish a visitation center or a visitation exchange facility for the purpose of facilitating the terms of a court order providing for the possession of or access to a child. Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 577, § 1, eff. June 11, 2001.
SUBCHAPTER B. PARENT APPOINTED AS CONSERVATOR: IN GENERAL
§ 153.071. COURT TO SPECIFY RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF PARENT APPOINTED A CONSERVATOR. If both parents are appointed as conservators of the child, the court shall specify the rights and duties of a parent that are to be exercised: (1) by each parent independently; (2) by the joint agreement of the parents; and (3) exclusively by one parent. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. § 153.072. WRITTEN FINDING REQUIRED TO LIMIT PARENTAL RIGHTS AND DUTIES. The court may limit the rights and duties of a parent appointed as a conservator if the court makes a written finding that the limitation is in the best interest of the child. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. § 153.073. RIGHTS OF PARENT AT ALL TIMES. (a) Unless limited by court order, a parent appointed as a conservator of a child has at all times the right: (1) to receive information from any other conservator of the child concerning the health, education, and welfare of the child; (2) to confer with the other parent to the extent possible before making a decision concerning the health, education, and welfare of the child; (3) of access to medical, dental, psychological, and educational records of the child; (4) to consult with a physician, dentist, or psychologist of the child; (5) to consult with school officials concerning the child's welfare and educational status, including school activities; (6) to attend school activities; (7) to be designated on the child's records as a person to be notified in case of an emergency; (8) to consent to medical, dental, and surgical treatment during an emergency involving an immediate danger to the health and safety of the child; and (9) to manage the estate of the child to the extent the estate has been created by the parent or the parent's family. (b) The court shall specify in the order the rights that a parent retains at all times. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, § 29, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1036, § 6, eff. Sept. 1, 2003. § 153.074. RIGHTS AND DUTIES DURING PERIOD OF POSSESSION. Unless limited by court order, a parent appointed as a conservator of a child has the following rights and duties during the period that the parent has possession of the child: (1) the duty of care, control, protection, and reasonable discipline of the child; (2) the duty to support the child, including providing the child with clothing, food, shelter, and medical and dental care not involving an invasive procedure; (3) the right to consent for the child to medical and dental care not involving an invasive procedure; and (4) the right to direct the moral and religious training of the child. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, § 30, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1036, § 7, eff. Sept. 1, 2003. § 153.075. DUTIES OF PARENT NOT APPOINTED CONSERVATOR. The court may order a parent not appointed as a managing or a possessory conservator to perform other parental duties, including paying child support. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. § 153.076. DUTY TO PROVIDE INFORMATION. (a) The court shall order that each conservator of a child has a duty to inform the other conservator of the child in a timely manner of significant information concerning the health, education, and welfare of the child. (b) The court shall order that each conservator of a child has the duty to inform the other conservator of the child if the conservator resides with for at least 30 days, marries, or intends to marry a person who the conservator knows: (1) is registered as a sex offender under Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure; or (2) is currently charged with an offense for which on conviction the person would be required to register under that chapter. (c) The notice required to be made under Subsection (b) must be made as soon as practicable but not later than the 40th day after the date the conservator of the child begins to reside with the person or the 10th day after the date the marriage occurs, as appropriate. The notice must include a description of the offense that is the basis of the person's requirement to register as a sex offender or of the offense with which the person is charged. (d) A conservator commits an offense if the conservator fails to provide notice in the manner required by Subsections (b) and (c). An offense under this subsection is a Class C misdemeanor. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, § 31, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 330, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1036, § 8, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.
SUBCHAPTER C. PARENT APPOINTED AS SOLE OR JOINT MANAGING CONSERVATOR
§ 153.131. PRESUMPTION THAT PARENT TO BE APPOINTED MANAGING CONSERVATOR. (a) Subject to the prohibition in Section 153.004, unless the court finds that appointment of the parent or parents would not be in the best interest of the child because the appointment would significantly impair the child's physical health or emotional development, a parent shall be appointed sole managing conservator or both parents shall be appointed as joint managing conservators of the child. (b) It is a rebuttable presumption that the appointment of the parents of a child as joint managing conservators is in the best interest of the child. A finding of a history of family violence involving the parents of a child removes the presumption under this subsection. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, § 32, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1193, § 20, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. § 153.132. RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF PARENT APPOINTED SOLE MANAGING CONSERVATOR. Unless limited by court order, a parent appointed as sole managing conservator of a child has the rights and duties provided by Subchapter B and the following exclusive rights: (1) the right to designate the primary residence of the child; (2) the right to consent to medical, dental, and surgical treatment involving invasive procedures, and to consent to psychiatric and psychological treatment; (3) the right to receive and give receipt for periodic payments for the support of the child and to hold or disburse these funds for the benefit of the child; (4) the right to represent the child in legal action and to make other decisions of substantial legal significance concerning the child; (5) the right to consent to marriage and to enlistment in the armed forces of the United States; (6) the right to make decisions concerning the child's education; (7) the right to the services and earnings of the child; and (8) except when a guardian of the child's estate or a guardian or attorney ad litem has been appointed for the child, the right to act as an agent of the child in relation to the child's estate if the child's action is required by a state, the United States, or a foreign government. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, § 33, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1036, § 9, eff. Sept. 1, 2003. § 153.133. AGREEMENT FOR JOINT MANAGING CONSERVATORSHIP. (a) If a written agreement of the parents is filed with the court, the court shall render an order appointing the parents as joint managing conservators only if the agreement: (1) designates the conservator who has the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the child and: (A) establishes, until modified by further order, the geographic area within which the conservator shall maintain the child's primary residence; or (B) specifies that the conservator may designate the child's primary residence without regard to geographic location; (2) specifies the rights and duties of each parent regarding the child's physical care, support, and education; (3) includes provisions to minimize disruption of the child's education, daily routine, and association with friends; (4) allocates between the parents, independently, jointly, or exclusively, all of the remaining rights and duties of a parent provided by Chapter 151; (5) is voluntarily and knowingly made by each parent and has not been repudiated by either parent at the time the order is rendered; and (6) is in the best interest of the child. (b) The agreement may contain an alternative dispute resolution procedure that the parties agree to use before requesting enforcement or modification of the terms and conditions of the joint conservatorship through litigation, except in an emergency. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 936, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1036, § 10, eff. Sept. 1, 2003. § 153.134. COURT-ORDERED JOINT CONSERVATORSHIP. (a) If a written agreement of the parents is not filed with the court, the court may render an order appointing the parents joint managing conservators only if the appointment is in the best interest of the child, considering the following factors: (1) whether the physical, psychological, or emotional needs and development of the child will benefit from the appointment of joint managing conservators; (2) the ability of the parents to give first priority to the welfare of the child and reach shared decisions in the child's best interest; (3) whether each parent can encourage and accept a positive relationship between the child and the other parent; (4) whether both parents participated in child rearing before the filing of the suit; (5) the geographical proximity of the parents' residences; (6) if the child is 12 years of age or older, the child's preference, if any, regarding the appointment of joint managing conservators; and (7) any other relevant factor. (b) In rendering an order appointing joint managing conservators, the court shall: (1) designate the conservator who has the exclusive right to determine the primary residence of the child and: (A) establish, until modified by further order, a geographic area within which the conservator shall maintain the child's primary residence; or (B) specify that the conservator may determine the child's primary residence without regard to geographic location; (2) specify the rights and duties of each parent regarding the child's physical care, support, and education; (3) include provisions to minimize disruption of the child's education, daily routine, and association with friends; (4) allocate between the parents, independently, jointly, or exclusively, all of the remaining rights and duties of a parent as provided by Chapter 151; and (5) if feasible, recommend that the parties use an alternative dispute resolution method before requesting enforcement or modification of the terms and conditions of the joint conservatorship through litigation, except in an emergency. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 936, § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1036, § 11, eff. Sept. 1, 2003. § 153.135. EQUAL POSSESSION NOT REQUIRED. Joint managing conservatorship does not require the award of equal or nearly equal periods of physical possession of and access to the child to each of the joint conservators. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. § 153.137. GUIDELINES FOR THE POSSESSION OF CHILD BY PARENT NAMED AS JOINT MANAGING CONSERVATOR. The standard possession order provided by Subchapter F constitutes a presumptive minimum amount of time for possession of a child by a parent named as a joint managing conservator who is not awarded the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the child in a suit. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1036, § 12, eff. Sept. 1, 2003. § 153.138. CHILD SUPPORT ORDER AFFECTING JOINT CONSERVATORS. The appointment of joint managing conservators does not impair or limit the authority of the court to order a joint managing conservator to pay child support to another joint managing conservator. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995.
SUBCHAPTER D. PARENT APPOINTED AS POSSESSORY CONSERVATOR
§ 153.191. PRESUMPTION THAT PARENT TO BE APPOINTED POSSESSORY CONSERVATOR. The court shall appoint as a possessory conservator a parent who is not appointed as a sole or joint managing conservator unless it finds that the appointment is not in the best interest of the child and that parental possession or access would endanger the physical or emotional welfare of the child. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. § 153.192. RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF PARENT APPOINTED POSSESSORY CONSERVATOR. (a) Unless limited by court order, a parent appointed as possessory conservator of a child has the rights and duties provided by Subchapter B and any other right or duty expressly granted to the possessory conservator in the order. (b) In ordering the terms and conditions for possession of a child by a parent appointed possessory conservator, the court shall be guided by the guidelines in Subchapter E. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. § 153.193. MINIMAL RESTRICTION ON PARENT'S POSSESSION OR ACCESS. The terms of an order that denies possession of a child to a parent or imposes restrictions or limitations on a parent's right to possession of or access to a child may not exceed those that are required to protect the best interest of the child. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995.
SUBCHAPTER E. GUIDELINES FOR THE POSSESSION OF A CHILD BY A PARENT NAMED AS POSSESSORY CONSERVATOR
§ 153.251. POLICY AND GENERAL APPLICATION OF GUIDELINES. (a) The guidelines established in the standard possession order are intended to guide the courts in ordering the terms and conditions for possession of a child by a parent named as a possessory conservator or as the minimum possession for a joint managing conservator. (b) It is the policy of this state to encourage frequent contact between a child and each parent for periods of possession that optimize the development of a close and continuing relationship between each parent and child. (c) It is preferable for all children in a family to be together during periods of possession. (d) The standard possession order is designed to apply to a child three years of age or older. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. § 153.252. REBUTTABLE PRESUMPTION. In a suit, there is a rebuttable presumption that the standard possession order in Subchapter F: (1) provides reasonable minimum possession of a child for a parent named as a possessory conservator or joint managing conservator; and (2) is in the best interest of the child. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. § 153.253. STANDARD POSSESSION ORDER INAPPROPRIATE OR UNWORKABLE. The court shall render an order that grants periods of possession of the child as similar as possible to those provided by the standard possession order if the work schedule or other special circumstances of the managing conservator, the possessory conservator, or the child, or the year-round school schedule of the child, make the standard order unworkable or inappropriate. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. § 153.254. CHILD LESS THAN THREE YEARS OF AGE. (a) The court shall render an order appropriate under the circumstances for possession of a child less than three years of age. (b) The court shall render a prospective order to take effect on the child's third birthday, which presumptively will be the standard possession order. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. § 153.255. AGREEMENT. The court may render an order for periods of possession of a child that vary from the standard possession order based on the agreement of the parties. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. § 153.256. FACTORS FOR COURT TO CONSIDER. In ordering the terms of possession of a child under an order other than a standard possession order, the court shall be guided by the guidelines established by the standard possession order and may consider: (1) the age, developmental status, circumstances, needs, and best interest of the child; (2) the circumstances of the managing conservator and of the parent named as a possessory conservator; and (3) any other relevant factor. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, § 35, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. § 153.257. MEANS OF TRAVEL. In an order providing for the terms and conditions of possession of a child, the court may restrict the means of travel of the child by a legal mode of transportation only after a showing of good cause contained in the record and a finding by the court that the restriction is in the best interest of the child. The court shall specify the duties of the conservators to provide transportation to and from the transportation facilities. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. § 153.258. REQUEST FOR FINDINGS WHEN ORDER VARIES FROM STANDARD ORDER. Without regard to Rules 296 through 299, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, in all cases in which possession of a child by a parent is contested and the possession of the child varies from the standard possession order, on written request made or filed with the court not later than 10 days after the date of the hearing or on oral request made in open court during the hearing, the court shall state in the order the specific reasons for the variance from the standard order. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995.
SUBCHAPTER F. STANDARD POSSESSION ORDER
§ 153.311. MUTUAL AGREEMENT OR SPECIFIED TERMS FOR POSSESSION. The court shall specify in a standard possession order that the parties may have possession of the child at times mutually agreed to in advance by the parties and, in the absence of mutual agreement, shall have possession of the child under the specified terms set out in the standard order. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. § 153.312. PARENTS WHO RESIDE 100 MILES OR LESS APART. (a) If the possessory conservator resides 100 miles or less from the primary residence of the child, the possessory conservator shall have the right to possession of the child as follows: (1) on weekends beginning at 6 p.m. on the first, third, and fifth Friday of each month and ending at 6 p.m. on the following Sunday or, at the possessory conservator's election made before or at the time of the rendition of the original or modification order, and as specified in the original or modification order, beginning at the time the child's school is regularly dismissed and ending at 6 p.m. on the following Sunday; and (2) on Thursdays of each week during the regular school term beginning at 6 p.m. and ending at 8 p.m., or, at the possessory conservator's election made before or at the time of the rendition of the original or modification order, and as specified in the original or modification order, beginning at the time the child's school is regularly dismissed and ending at the time the child's school resumes, unless the court finds that visitation under this subdivision is not in the best interest of the child. (b) The following provisions govern possession of the child for vacations and certain specific holidays and supersede conflicting weekend or Wednesday periods of possession. The possessory conservator and the managing conservator shall have rights of possession of the child as follows: (1) the possessory conservator shall have possession in even-numbered years, beginning at 6 p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school for the school's spring vacation and ending at 6 p.m. on the day before school resumes after that vacation, and the managing conservator shall have possession for the same period in odd-numbered years; (2) if a possessory conservator: (A) gives the managing conservator written notice by April 1 of each year specifying an extended period or periods of summer possession, the possessory conservator shall have possession of the child for 30 days beginning not earlier than the day after the child's school is dismissed for the summer vacation and ending not later than seven days before school resumes at the end of the summer vacation, to be exercised in not more than two separate periods of at least seven consecutive days each; or (B) does not give the managing conservator written notice by April 1 of each year specifying an extended period or periods of summer possession, the possessory conservator shall have possession of the child for 30 consecutive days beginning at 6 p.m. on July 1 and ending at 6 p.m. on July 31; (3) if the managing conservator gives the possessory conservator written notice by April 15 of each year, the managing conservator shall have possession of the child on any one weekend beginning Friday at 6 p.m. and ending at 6 p.m. on the following Sunday during one period of possession by the possessory conservator under Subdivision (2), provided that the managing conservator picks up the child from the possessory conservator and returns the child to that same place; and (4) if the managing conservator gives the possessory conservator written notice by April 15 of each year or gives the possessory conservator 14 days' written notice on or after April 16 of each year, the managing conservator may designate one weekend beginning not earlier than the day after the child's school is dismissed for the summer vacation and ending not later than seven days before school resumes at the end of the summer vacation, during which an otherwise scheduled weekend period of possession by the possessory conservator will not take place, provided that the weekend designated does not interfere with the possessory conservator's period or periods of extended summer possession or with Father's Day if the possessory conservator is the father of the child. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 802, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 236, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1036, § 13, eff. Sept. 1, 2003. § 153.313. PARENTS WHO RESIDE OVER 100 MILES APART. If the possessory conservator resides more than 100 miles from the residence of the child, the possessory conservator shall have the right to possession of the child as follows: (1) either regular weekend possession beginning on the first, third, and fifth Friday as provided under the terms applicable to parents who reside 100 miles or less apart or not more than one weekend per month of the possessory conservator's choice beginning at 6 p.m. on the day school recesses for the weekend and ending at 6 p.m. on the day before school resumes after the weekend, provided that the possessory conservator gives the managing conservator 14 days' written or telephonic notice preceding a designated weekend, and provided that the possessory conservator elects an option for this alternative period of possession by written notice given to the managing conservator within 90 days after the parties begin to reside more than 100 miles apart, as applicable; (2) each year beginning on the day the child is dismissed from school for the school's spring vacation and ending at 6 p.m. on the day before school resumes after that vacation; (3) if the possessory conservator: (A) gives the managing conservator written notice by April 1 of each year specifying an extended period or periods of summer possession, the possessory conservator shall have possession of the child for 42 days beginning not earlier than the day after the child's school is dismissed for the summer vacation and ending not later than seven days before school resumes at the end of the summer vacation, to be exercised in not more than two separate periods of at least seven consecutive days each; or (B) does not give the managing conservator written notice by April 1 of each year specifying an extended period or periods of summer possession, the possessory conservator shall have possession of the child for 42 consecutive days beginning at 6 p.m. on June 15 and ending at 6 p.m. on July 27; (4) if the managing conservator gives the possessory conservator written notice by April 15 of each year the managing conservator shall have possession of the child on one weekend beginning Friday at 6 p.m. and ending at 6 p.m. on the following Sunday during one period of possession by the possessory conservator under Subdivision (3), provided that if a period of possession by the possessory conservator exceeds 30 days, the managing conservator may have possession of the child under the terms of this subdivision on two nonconsecutive weekends during that time period, and further provided that the managing conservator picks up the child from the possessory conservator and returns the child to that same place; and (5) if the managing conservator gives the possessory conservator written notice by April 15 of each year, the managing conservator may designate 21 days beginning not earlier than the day after the child's school is dismissed for the summer vacation and ending not later than seven days before school resumes at the end of the summer vacation, to be exercised in not more than two separate periods of at least seven consecutive days each, during which the possessory conservator may not have possession of the child, provided that the period or periods so designated do not interfere with the possessory conservator's period or periods of extended summer possession or with Father's Day if the possessory conservator is the father of the child. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, § 36, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 236, § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1999. § 153.314. HOLIDAY POSSESSION UNAFFECTED BY DISTANCE PARENTS RESIDE APART. The following provisions govern possession of the child for certain specific holidays and supersede conflicting weekend or Thursday periods of possession without regard to the distance the parents reside apart. The possessory conservator and the managing conservator shall have rights of possession of the child as follows: (1) the possessory conservator shall have possession of the child in even-numbered years beginning at 6 p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school for the Christmas school vacation and ending at noon on December 26, and the managing conservator shall have possession for the same period in odd-numbered years; (2) the possessory conservator shall have possession of the child in odd-numbered years beginning at noon on December 26 and ending at 6 p.m. on the day before school resumes after that vacation, and the managing conservator shall have possession for the same period in even-numbered years; (3) the possessory conservator shall have possession of the child in odd-numbered years, beginning at 6 p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school before Thanksgiving and ending at 6 p.m. on the following Sunday, and the managing conservator shall have possession for the same period in even-numbered years; (4) the parent not otherwise entitled under this standard order to present possession of a child on the child's birthday shall have possession of the child beginning at 6 p.m. and ending at 8 p.m. on that day, provided that the parent picks up the child from the residence of the conservator entitled to possession and returns the child to that same place; (5) if a conservator, the father shall have possession of the child beginning at 6 p.m. on the Friday preceding Father's Day and ending on Father's Day at 6 p.m., provided that, if he is not otherwise entitled under this standard order to present possession of the child, he picks up the child from the residence of the conservator entitled to possession and returns the child to that same place; and (6) if a conservator, the mother shall have possession of the child beginning at 6 p.m. on the Friday preceding Mother's Day and ending on Mother's Day at 6 p.m., provided that, if she is not otherwise entitled under this standard order to present possession of the child, she picks up the child from the residence of the conservator entitled to possession and returns the child to that same place. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1036, § 14, eff. Sept. 1, 2003. § 153.315. WEEKEND POSSESSION EXTENDED BY HOLIDAY. (a) If a weekend period of possession of the possessory conservator coincides with a school holiday during the regular school term or with a federal, state, or local holiday during the summer months in which school is not in session, the weekend possession shall end at 6 p.m. on a Monday holiday or school holiday or shall begin at 6 p.m. Thursday for a Friday holiday or school holiday, as applicable. (b) At the possessory conservator's election, made before or at the time of the rendition of the original or modification order, and as specified in the original or modification order, periods of possession extended by a holiday may begin at the time the child's school is regularly dismissed. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. § 153.316. GENERAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS. The court shall order the following general terms and conditions of possession of a child to apply without regard to the distance between the residence of a parent and the child: (1) the managing conservator shall surrender the child to the possessory conservator at the beginning of each period of the possessory conservator's possession at the residence of the managing conservator; (2) if the possessory conservator elects to begin a period of possession at the time the child's school is regularly dismissed, the managing conservator shall surrender the child to the possessory conservator at the beginning of each period of possession at the school in which the child is enrolled; (3) the possessory conservator shall be ordered to do one of the following: (A) the possessory conservator shall surrender the child to the managing conservator at the end of each period of possession at the residence of the possessory conservator; or (B) the possessory conservator shall return the child to the residence of the managing conservator at the end of each period of possession, except that the order shall provide that the possessory conservator shall surrender the child to the managing conservator at the end of each period of possession at the residence of the possessory conservator if: (i) at the time the original order or a modification of an order establishing terms and conditions of possession or access the possessory conservator and the managing conservator lived in the same county, the possessory conservator's county of residence remains the same after the rendition of the order, and the managing conservator's county of residence changes, effective on the date of the change of residence by the managing conservator; or (ii) the possessory conservator and managing conservator lived in the same residence at any time during a six-month period preceding the date on which a suit for dissolution of the marriage was filed and the possessory conservator's county of residence remains the same and the managing conservator's county of residence changes after they no longer live in the same residence, effective on the date the order is rendered; (4) if the possessory conservator elects to end a period of possession at the time the child's school resumes, the possessory conservator shall surrender the child to the managing conservator at the end of each period of possession at the school in which the child is enrolled; (5) each conservator shall return with the child the personal effects that the child brought at the beginning of the period of possession; (6) either parent may designate a competent adult to pick up and return the child, as applicable; a parent or a designated competent adult shall be present when the child is picked up or returned; (7) a parent shall give notice to the person in possession of the child on each occasion that the parent will be unable to exercise that parent's right of possession for a specified period; (8) written notice shall be deemed to have been timely made if received or postmarked before or at the time that notice is due; and (9) if a conservator's time of possession of a child ends at the time school resumes and for any reason the child is not or will not be returned to school, the conservator in possession of the child shall immediately notify the school and the other conservator that the child will not be or has not been returned to school. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, § 37, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 9, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. § 153.317. ALTERNATIVE POSSESSION TIMES. If a child is enrolled in school and the possessory conservator elects before or at the time of the rendition of the original or modification order, the standard order must expressly provide that the possessory conservator's period of possession shall begin or end, or both, at a different time expressly set in the standard order under and within the range of alternative times provided by one or both of the following subdivisions: (1) instead of a period of possession by a possessory conservator beginning at 6 p.m. on the day school recesses, the period of possession may be set in the standard possession order to begin at the time the child's school is regularly dismissed or at any time between the time the child's school is regularly dismissed and 6 p.m.; and (2) except for Thursday evening possession, instead of a period of possession by a possessory conservator ending at 6 p.m. on the day before school resumes, the period of possession may be set in the standard order to end at the time school resumes. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 9, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1036, § 15, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.
SUBCHAPTER G. APPOINTMENT OF NONPARENT AS CONSERVATOR
§ 153.371. RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF NONPARENT APPOINTED AS SOLE MANAGING CONSERVATOR. Unless limited by court order or other provisions of this chapter, a nonparent, licensed child-placing agency, or authorized agency appointed as a managing conservator of the child has the following rights and duties: (1) the right to have physical possession and to direct the moral and religious training of the child; (2) the duty of care, control, protection, and reasonable discipline of the child; (3) the duty to provide the child with clothing, food, shelter, education, and medical, psychological, and dental care; (4) the right to consent for the child to medical, psychiatric, psychological, dental, and surgical treatment and to have access to the child's medical records; (5) the right to receive and give receipt for payments for the support of the child and to hold or disburse funds for the benefit of the child; (6) the right to the services and earnings of the child; (7) the right to consent to marriage and to enlistment in the armed forces of the United States; (8) the right to represent the child in legal action and to make other decisions of substantial legal significance concerning the child; (9) except when a guardian of the child's estate or a guardian or attorney ad litem has been appointed for the child, the right to act as an agent of the child in relation to the child's estate if the child's action is required by a state, the United States, or a foreign government; (10) the right to designate the primary residence of the child and to make decisions regarding the child's education; and (11) if the parent-child relationship has been terminated with respect to the parents, or only living parent, or if there is no living parent, the right to consent to the adoption of the child and to make any other decision concerning the child that a parent could make. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, § 34, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 949, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1036, § 16, eff. Sept. 1, 2003. § 153.372. NONPARENT APPOINTED AS JOINT MANAGING CONSERVATOR. (a) A nonparent, authorized agency, or licensed child-placing agency appointed as a joint managing conservator may serve in that capacity with either another nonparent or with a parent of the child. (b) The procedural and substantive standards regarding an agreed or court-ordered joint managing conservatorship provided by Subchapter C apply to a nonparent joint managing conservator. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. § 153.3721. ACCESS TO CERTAIN RECORDS BY NONPARENT JOINT MANAGING CONSERVATOR. Unless limited by court order or other provisions of this chapter, a nonparent joint managing conservator has the right of access to the medical records of the child, without regard to whether the right is specified in the order. Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 949, § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1999. § 153.373. VOLUNTARY SURRENDER OF POSSESSION REBUTS PARENTAL PRESUMPTION. The presumption that a parent should be appointed or retained as managing conservator of the child is rebutted if the court finds that: (1) the parent has voluntarily relinquished actual care, control, and possession of the child to a nonparent, licensed child-placing agency, or authorized agency for a period of one year or more, a portion of which was within 90 days preceding the date of intervention in or filing of the suit; and (2) the appointment of the nonparent or agency as managing conservator is in the best interest of the child. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. § 153.374. DESIGNATION OF MANAGING CONSERVATOR IN AFFIDAVIT OF RELINQUISHMENT. (a) A parent may designate a competent person, authorized agency, or licensed child-placing agency to serve as managing conservator of the child in an unrevoked or irrevocable affidavit of relinquishment of parental rights executed as provided by Chapter 161. (b) The person or agency designated to serve as managing conservator shall be appointed managing conservator unless the court finds that the appointment would not be in the best interest of the child. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, § 38, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. § 153.375. ANNUAL REPORT BY NONPARENT MANAGING CONSERVATOR. (a) A nonparent appointed as a managing conservator of a child shall each 12 months after the appointment file with the court a report of facts concerning the child's welfare, including the child's whereabouts and physical condition. (b) The report may not be admitted in evidence in a subsequent suit. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. § 153.376. RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF NONPARENT POSSESSORY CONSERVATOR. (a) Unless limited by court order or other provisions of this chapter, a nonparent, licensed child-placing agency, or authorized agency appointed as a possessory conservator has the following rights and duties during the period of possession: (1) the duty of care, control, protection, and reasonable discipline of the child; (2) the duty to provide the child with clothing, food, and shelter; and (3) the right to consent to medical, dental, and surgical treatment during an emergency involving an immediate danger to the health and safety of the child. (b) A nonparent possessory conservator has any other right or duty specified in the order. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. § 153.377. ACCESS TO CHILD'S RECORDS. A nonparent possessory conservator has the right of access to medical, dental, psychological, and educational records of the child to the same extent as the managing conservator, without regard to whether the right is specified in the order. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995.
SUBCHAPTER H. RIGHTS OF GRANDPARENT
§ 153.431. GRANDPARENTAL APPOINTMENT AS MANAGING CONSERVATORS. If the parents are deceased, the grandparents may be considered for appointment as managing conservators, but consideration does not alter or diminish the discretionary power of the court. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. § 153.432. SUIT FOR ACCESS. (a) A biological or adoptive grandparent may request access to a grandchild by filing: (1) an original suit; or (2) a suit for modification as provided by Chapter 156. (b) A grandparent may request access to a grandchild in a suit filed for the sole purpose of requesting the relief, without regard to whether the appointment of a managing conservator is an issue in the suit. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. § 153.433. POSSESSION OF AND ACCESS TO GRANDCHILD. The court shall order reasonable access to a grandchild by a grandparent if: (1) at the time the relief is requested, at least one biological or adoptive parent of the child has not had that parent's parental rights terminated; and (2) access is in the best interest of the child, and at least one of the following facts is present: (A) the grandparent requesting access to the child is a parent of a parent of the child and that parent of the child has been incarcerated in jail or prison during the three-month period preceding the filing of the petition or has been found by a court to be incompetent or is dead; (B) the parents of the child are divorced or have been living apart for the three-month period preceding the filing of the petition or a suit for the dissolution of the parents' marriage is pending; (C) the child has been abused or neglected by a parent of the child; (D) the child has been adjudicated to be a child in need of supervision or a delinquent child under Title 3; (E) the grandparent requesting access to the child is the parent of a person whose parent-child relationship with the child has been terminated by court order; or (F) the child has resided with the grandparent requesting access to the child for at least six months within the 24-month period preceding the filing of the petition. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1397, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. § 153.434. LIMITATION ON RIGHT TO REQUEST ACCESS. A biological or adoptive grandparent may not request possession of or access to a grandchild if: (1) each of the biological parents of the grandchild has: (A) died; (B) had the person's parental rights terminated; or (C) executed an affidavit of waiver of interest in child or an affidavit of relinquishment of parental rights under Chapter 161 and the affidavit designates an authorized agency, licensed child-placing agency, or person other than the child's stepparent as the managing conservator of the child; and (2) the grandchild has been adopted, or is the subject of a pending suit for adoption, by a person other than the child's stepparent. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, § 4, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1390, § 13, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.
SUBCHAPTER I. PREVENTION OF INTERNATIONAL PARENTAL CHILD ABDUCTION
§ 153.501. NECESSITY OF MEASURES TO PREVENT INTERNATIONAL PARENTAL CHILD ABDUCTION. (a) In a suit, if credible evidence is presented to the court indicating a potential risk of the international abduction of a child by a parent of the child, the court, on its own motion or at the request of a party to the suit, shall determine under this section whether it is necessary for the court to take one or more of the measures described by Section 153.503 to protect the child from the risk of abduction by the parent. (b) In determining whether to take any of the measures described by Section 153.503, the court shall consider: (1) the public policies of this state described by Section 153.001(a) and the consideration of the best interest of the child under Section 153.002; (2) the risk of international abduction of the child by a parent of the child based on the court's evaluation of the risk factors described by Section 153.502; (3) any obstacles to locating, recovering, and returning the child if the child is abducted to a foreign country; and (4) the potential physical or psychological harm to the child if the child is abducted to a foreign country. Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 612, § 1, eff. June 20, 2003. § 153.502. ABDUCTION RISK FACTORS. (a) To determine whether there is a risk of the international abduction of a child by a parent of the child, the court shall consider evidence that the parent: (1) has taken, enticed away, kept, withheld, or concealed a child in violation of another person's right of possession of or access to the child, unless the parent presents evidence that the parent believed in good faith that the parent's conduct was necessary to avoid imminent harm to the child; (2) has previously threatened to take, entice away, keep, withhold, or conceal a child in violation of another person's right of possession of or access to the child; (3) lacks financial reason to stay in the United States, including evidence that the parent is financially independent, is able to work outside of the United States, or is unemployed; (4) has recently engaged in planning activities that could facilitate the removal of the child from the United States by the parent, including: (A) quitting a job; (B) selling a primary residence; (C) terminating a lease; (D) closing bank accounts; (E) liquidating other assets; (F) hiding or destroying documents; (G) applying for a passport or visa for the parent or the child; or (H) applying to obtain the child's birth certificate or school or medical records; (5) has a history of domestic violence that the court is required to consider under Section 153.004; or (6) has a criminal history or a history of violating court orders. (b) If the court finds that there is credible evidence of a risk of abduction of the child by a parent of the child based on the court's consideration of the factors in Subsection (a), the court shall also consider evidence regarding the following factors to evaluate the risk of international abduction of the child by a parent: (1) whether the parent has strong familial, emotional, or cultural ties to another country, particularly a country that is not a signatory to or compliant with the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction; and (2) whether the parent lacks strong ties to the United States, regardless of whether the parent is a citizen or permanent resident of the United States. (c) If the court finds that there is credible evidence of a risk of abduction of the child by a parent of the child based on the court's consideration of the factors in Subsection (a), the court may also consider evidence regarding the following factors to evaluate the risk of international abduction of the child by a parent: (1) whether the parent is undergoing a change in status with the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service that would adversely affect that parent's ability to legally remain in the United States; (2) whether the parent's application for United States citizenship has been denied by the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service; (3) whether the parent has forged or presented misleading or false evidence to obtain a visa, a passport, a social security card, or any other identification card or has made any misrepresentation to the United States government; or (4) whether the foreign country to which the parent has ties: (A) presents obstacles to the recovery and return of a child who is abducted to the country from the United States; (B) has any legal mechanisms for immediately and effectively enforcing an order regarding the possession of or access to the child issued by this state; (C) has local laws or practices that would: (i) enable the parent to prevent the child's other parent from contacting the child without due cause; (ii) restrict the child's other parent from freely traveling to or exiting from the country because of that parent's gender, nationality, or religion; or (iii) restrict the child's ability to legally leave the country after the child reaches the age of majority because of the child's gender, nationality, or religion; (D) is included by the United States Department of State on a list of state sponsors of terrorism; (E) is a country for which the United States Department of State has issued a travel warning to United States citizens regarding travel to the country; (F) has an embassy of the United States in the country; (G) is engaged in any active military action or war, including a civil war; (H) is a party to and compliant with the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction according to the most recent report on compliance issued by the United States Department of State; (I) provides for the extradition of a parental abductor and the return of the child to the United States; or (J) poses a risk that the child's physical health or safety would be endangered in the country because of specific circumstances relating to the child or because of human rights violations committed against children, including arranged marriages, lack of freedom of religion, child labor, lack of child abuse laws, female genital mutilation, and any form of slavery. Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 612, § 1, eff. June 20, 2003. § 153.503. ABDUCTION PREVENTION MEASURES. If the court finds that it is necessary under Section 153.501 to take measures to protect a child from international abduction by a parent of the child, the court may take any of the following actions: (1) appoint a person other than the parent of the child who presents a risk of abducting the child as the sole managing conservator of the child; (2) require supervised visitation of the parent by a visitation center or independent organization until the court finds under Section 153.501 that supervised visitation is no longer necessary; (3) enjoin the parent or any person acting on the parent's behalf from: (A) disrupting or removing the child from the school or child-care facility in which the child is enrolled; or (B) approaching the child at any location other than a site designated for supervised visitation; (4) order passport and travel controls, including controls that: (A) prohibit the parent and any person acting on the parent's behalf from removing the child from this state or the United States; (B) require the parent to surrender any passport issued in the child's name, including any passport issued in the name of both the parent and the child; and (C) prohibit the parent from applying on behalf of the child for a new or replacement passport or international travel visa; (5) require the parent to provide: (A) to the United States Department of State's Office of Children's Issues and the relevant foreign consulate or embassy: (i) written notice of the court-ordered passport and travel restrictions for the child; and (ii) a properly authenticated copy of the court order detailing the restrictions and documentation of the parent's agreement to the restrictions; and (B) to the court proof of receipt of the written notice required by Paragraph (A)(i) by the United States Department of State's Office of Children's Issues and the relevant foreign consulate or embassy; (6) order the parent to execute a bond or deposit security in an amount sufficient to offset the cost of recovering the child if the child is abducted by the parent to a foreign country; (7) authorize the appropriate law enforcement agencies to take measures to prevent the abduction of the child by the parent; or (8) include in the court's order provisions: (A) identifying the United States as the country of habitual residence of the child; (B) defining the basis for the court's exercise of jurisdiction; and (C) stating that a party's violation of the order may subject the party to a civil penalty or criminal penalty or to both civil and criminal penalties. Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 612, § 1, eff. June 20, 2003.



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