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3 key rights and duties that come with parenting time in Texas

On Behalf of | May 7, 2024 | Child Custody

When parents divorce or separate in Texas, the change in their relationship has an immediate impact on the children in their household. There is an expectation in most cases that parents should share parental rights and responsibilities with one another in accordance with Texas statutes.

The law outlines certain rights for parents and also imposes specific obligations on them. Unless the circumstances warrant a sole custody arrangement, both adults in the family have certain duties to the children and certain rights stemming from their parental relationship. There are three primary rights and responsibilities that create the foundation for a functional co-parenting relationship.

The duty to meet a child’s basic needs

The most essential responsibility of parents is to meet the needs of their children. Children require shelter, nutrition and clothing. They also need medical and dental care. During an adult’s parenting time, they have a responsibility to meet all the needs of their children, including providing a safe living environment. That duty can sometimes lead to an obligation to provide financial support just so that the other parent can also meet the basic needs of the children during their parenting time.

The right to make certain decisions

Decisions regarding a child’s health care, education and moral upbringing are the building blocks of successful parenting. Parents decide which medical professionals should treat their children and what type of care they require. They also decide what church services to attend.

The ability to make choices about a child’s upbringing is a key element of parenting. Adults generally share this responsibility when co-parenting. They can make immediate choices during their parenting time but may have to reach an agreement about decisions with long-lasting implications for their children.

The duty to provide information

Those subject to a co-parenting order have a duty to the other parent, not just to the child. Both adults need to have accurate, up-to-date information about the child’s health and educational circumstances. Parents should openly share information about their children with one another to facilitate more effective co-parenting. A refusal to give someone information about medical treatment or educational arrangements could lead to co-parenting challenges and possibly additional family court litigation.

Fit parents have many other rights as well, including the right to attend school functions and to access their medical records. Adults who understand both their duties and their rights can use that information when negotiating custody arrangements. Fulfilling personal responsibilities and demanding appropriate conduct from a co-parent can help people navigate a stressful change in their family circumstances.