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PARENTAL RIGHTS


Disclaimer:
  The legal information provided on this website is the product of Legal Aid NorthWest Texas (LANWT). None of the legal information on this website is associated with or the product of the Office of the Attorney General of Texas or any of its employees.


Q. Can I consent to medical treatment for my children when they are with me?

A. That depends. Unless your rights have been limited by a court order, you have the right to consent to routine medical and dental treatment. In most cases you would have the right to consent to surgical procedures anytime it is an emergency. In non-emergency cases, the answer could vary depending on how your court order is worded, particularly in the case of a surgical procedure.


Q. The custodial parent and I attend different churches and have very different beliefs. Can I take my child to church with me even if the custodial parent objects?

A. That depends. Unless your rights have been limited by a court order, you may direct your child’s moral and religious training in virtually any manner you see fit.


Q. The custodial parent does not approve of my new girlfriend/boyfriend. Can that parent keep me from seeing this person?

A. In most cases, the parent cannot unless this new person would pose some risk of harm to the child. For instance, if the significant other abuses drugs, the other parent has the right, and the duty, to protect the child from that person. If it is a personality conflict, in most cases the other parent cannot tell you who to have a relationship with and cannot prevent the significant other from being around the child. Consult your court order as it may specify  no overnights with a girlfriend/boyfriend while you have possession of your child.


Q. Can I visit my child at school even when it is not my visitation time?

A. Usually this is not a problem. In most cases, each parent has a right to consult with teachers, be notified in case of an emergency, have access to records, and attend school functions. Contact the child’s school in advance to avoid any disruption in the child’s education.  Check your court order for any restriction regarding school or daycare visitation.


Q. Can I remove my child from school or daycare on days when I am not scheduled to have them as long as I return them before school is out?

A. Consult with and obtain the consent of the custodial parent unless your court order specifies otherwise. It could be construed as disruptive for the child.


Q. Do I have a right to call my children when they are at the custodial parent’s house?

A. Yes. You are permitted reasonable telephone access to your children during reasonable hours. The same is true for the custodial parent while the child is visiting with you. Check your court order to see if there are restrictions on telephone access.


Q. What can I do if I feel that the custodial parent tries to turn the child against me?

A. In severe cases, it could be the basis for changing the custody on the grounds of parental alienation. Check to see whether your court order requires an attempt at mediation or co-parenting when parents disagree, and attempt to resolve these issues.  Consult with an attorney regarding whether court action is a possibility. Keep detailed records of specific acts by the other parent that you think are meant to alienate you from your child. Record dates, times, places, witnesses, and actions. Consider consulting a child psychologist or family counselor about how to respond to such situations.


Q. Can I tape my phone calls with the other parent?

A. Generally, yes. In Texas, if you are talking on the phone, you may record your conversation without the knowledge of the person on the other end of the line. You normally may not record the conversation of your children and the other parent. If the other parent is in another state, you should consult an attorney in that state before recording your calls.


Q. Can I take my child to get a haircut? Ears pierced?

A. Yes. Consider discussing any major changes in hairstyle or piercing with the other parent, but you do have the right to make these decisions on your own.