E. Court Shall Review Visitation Plan

For more information regarding visitation and relevant forms, please see the Bench Book Chapter entitled Family Visitation.

1. Visitation Plan

Visitation plans apply only to a child in the temporary managing conservatorship of DFPS for whom the goal of DFPS is reunification of the child with the child’s parent. Tex. Fam. Code § 263.107(a).

Not later than the 30th day after the date DFPS is named temporary managing conservator of a child, DFPS, in collaboration with each parent of the child, shall develop a visitation plan. Tex. Fam. Code § 263.107(b).

In determining the frequency and circumstances of visitation under Tex. Fam. Code § 263.107, DFPS must consider:

•   The safety and best interest of the child;

•   The age of the child;

•   The desires of each parent regarding visitation with the child;

•   The location of each parent and the child; and

•   The resources available to DFPS, including the resources to:

◦   ensure that visitation is properly supervised by a DFPS employee or an available and willing volunteer DFPS determines suitable after conducting a background and criminal history check; and

◦   provide transportation to and from visits. Tex. Fam. Code § 263.107(c).

Not later than the 10th day before the date of a Status Hearing under Tex. Fam. Code § 263.201, DFPS shall file with the court a copy of the visitation plan developed under Tex. Fam. Code § 263.107. Tex. Fam. Code § 263.107(d).

DFPS may amend the visitation plan on mutual agreement of the child’s parents and DFPS or as DFPS considers necessary to ensure the safety of the child. An amendment to the visitation plan must be in the child’s best interest. DFPS shall file a copy of any amended visitation plan with the court. Tex. Fam. Code § 263.107(e).

A visitation plan developed under Tex. Fam. Code § 263.107 may not conflict with a court order relating to possession of and access to the child. Tex. Fam. Code § 263.107(f).

2. Review of Visitation Plan; Modification

At the first hearing held under Tex. Fam. Code Chapter 263 after the date an original or amended visitation plan is filed with the court under Tex. Fam. Code § 263.107, the court shall review the visitation plan, taking into consideration the factors listed under Tex. Fam. Code § 263.107(c). Tex. Fam. Code § 263.108(a).

The court may modify, or order DFPS to modify, an original or amended visitation plan at any time. Tex. Fam. Code § 263.108(b).

A parent who is entitled to visitation under a visitation plan may at any time file a motion with the court to request review and modification of an original or amended visitation plan. Tex. Fam. Code § 263.108(c).

3. Court Implementation of Visitation Plan

After reviewing an original or amended visitation plan, the court shall render an order regarding a parent’s visitation with a child that the court determines appropriate. Tex. Fam. Code § 263.109(a).

If the court finds that visitation between a child and a parent is not in the child’s best interest, the court shall render an order that:

•   States the reasons for finding that visitation is not in the child’s best interest; and

•   Outlines specific steps the parent must take to be allowed to have visitation with the child. Tex. Fam. Code § 263.109(b).

If the order regarding visitation between a child and a parent requires supervised visitation to protect the health and safety of the child, the order must outline specific steps the parent must take to have the level of supervision reduced. Tex. Fam. Code § 263.109(c).