In Texas, family law labels parents as managing conservators or possessory conservators (or in some cases a parent may not have conservatorship over a child). A managing conservator has access, possession, and decision-making rights about the child. A possessory conservator has only the right to possession.

Even if both parents are managing conservators, the child will live primarily with one of them and the other will get visitation rights but maintain decision-making rights. Depending on the circumstances, the rights of the possessory conservator or non-primary managing conservator will come with certain child visitation restrictions, discussed below.

For example, in some cases a court may award visitation to a parent but require supervision during the visit. In other cases, the court may not provide the same degree of visitation allowed under the standard possession order. It may not award possession of the child during holidays, school breaks, or even overnight visits.

Why might a court demand child visitation restrictions? 

The court always acts in the child’s best interests. In doing so, it may restrict child visitation rights for a number of reasons. Below are some of those reasons. 

  • A history of physical violence or child abuse by the parent
  • A history of emotional abuse of the child
  • The parent’s substance abuse
  • The parent is incarcerated and the court finds visiting the prison is harmful to the child
  • The parent suffers from mental illness that affects parenting ability
  • The child wishes to limit or restrict visitation with the parent


In some cases, one parent – the sole managing conservator or the primary managing conservator – may wish to restrict the other parent’s visitation rights. In doing so, the parent must prove the other is unfit to care for the child, is a danger to the child, or it is otherwise in the child’s best interests to restrict or limit visitation.

If the court decides that a supervised visitation is in the best interests of the child, it may designate a neutral third-party supervisor to attend visitation. All visitations will take place in the presence of the supervisor.

Can I restrict the other parent’s visitation rights?

Keep in mind that one parent cannot deny the other parent’s visitation rights unless a court orders it. However, there are means of modifying a visitation order. Of course, if you believe your child is in danger, contact emergency authorities or talk to a lawyer about obtaining an emergency order.

If you want to place restrictions on your ex-spouse’s visitation with your children and you’re in the Dallas area, speak to family law attorney Julie Johnson. Call 214-265-7630 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation.