Frequently Asked Questions

Visitation for Non Parent Conservators

I am not a parent, but I am a possessory conservator. Are my rights and duties the same?

The Texas Family Code states that you have the following rights and duties unless the court order says otherwise:

  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.

You also have any other right that is specifically listed in the court order.

I am not the parent of the child, but I am a family member or a caregiver. What are my rights as a non-parent caregiver?

A caregiver is an adult who is present in the home and supervises and cares for a child.

There are different reasons a non-parent may want to learn more about getting a court order or changing a court order. Sometimes, a non-parent may take care of a child without a court order giving that person any parental rights or responsibilities. If the child was given to you by the custodial parent so you would care for the child, you may be able to ask a court to give you additional rights. If you are not a biological parent but you are doing everything for the child that the parent would normally do, you can also ask for additional rights.

If you do not want to go through the Attorney General’s Office and the parent or relative voluntarily gave the child to you, hire an attorney or contact your local law library. Additionally, call the Access and Visitation Hotline at 1 (866) 292-4636 for help in how to ask the court for additional rights. A court order says where the child is to live. Court orders that document agreements between parties help avoid conflicts that could arise in the future.

Read more about Modification of Visitation.

How can I be listed on the court order?

If you want to be named as a conservator in the court order, you must file a motion requesting the court add you as a party to the case.

Did a parent with right to name the child’s residence voluntarily give the child to you to care for?

You may ask the court for additional legal rights by filing a motion with the court that issued the original orders. You would be referred to as a “non-parent caregiver.”

You may also be able to apply for medical care or food assistance for the child.

Modification of Visitation

I’m the noncustodial parent or non-parent caregiver and the child has primarily lived with me. How do I get additional rights or become an additional party on the case?

When a caregiver contacts the OAG and indicates that the child(ren) on the case is no longer living with the original custodial parent and requests a modification, an application for services is sent to the person with physical possession of the child in order to create a new case. The court order does not change until the judge changes it.

If you do not go through the OAG’s office, parties typically file a motion for modification to change conservatorship or possession rights, instead of the Notice of Change of Status discussed below.

A Notice of Change of Status may be filed with the OAG when the:
• Custodial parent voluntarily relinquishes the primary care of the child, or
• Person with physical possession of the child has applied for or been referred to the OAG for child support services and the change of possession is permanent, and
• OAG has verified the change in physical possession.

The person with physical possession of the child does not need to have possession for six months prior to filing legal action. The OAG uses one of the following documents to verify the change in possession:
• Judicial finding of possession
• Child’s school or day care records
• Affidavit from the person in possession
• Uncontested affidavit of possession signed by the NCP, provided OAG staff attempt to confirm that CP’s relinquishment of possession was voluntary
• Possession affidavit completed by the CP
• Other appropriate documentation of possession, including records from the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC)