A common question is whether a parent can to to their child’s sports game, school play, or classroom activity when it is not their day for a visit under their visitation schedule. Parents should want to attend as many of these important milestones in their children’s lives as possible. Judges understand this and encourage this involvement after parents split up.
Sometimes the other parent will overstep their authority and claim one parent and/or their extended family cannot see the child at public/school/sports activities when it’s not that parent’s scheduled visitation day. Only in rare cases where there’s an active Protective Order, Restraining Order, or similar restriction on how physically close parties can be to one another will one parent be prevented from attending these important events in the child’s life.
Texas Family Code section 153.073 lists the rights of both parents AT ALL TIMES. This means the parent has these rights regardless of what day of the week or visitation schedule they have elsewhere in the Order. These rights are usually in your divorce/custody/child support order near the beginning of the document. Check your court paperwork and verify that you have a list similar to the one I quote below. If so, then you have the right to attend any school related event, i.e., school sports, band performances, choir performances, plays, classroom parties, and awards ceremonies. Further, any club sports team’s games are usually listed on the club’s website along with the game’s location. Any member of the public can go to these games.
Disclaimer: You can attend the event but that does not mean you get to visit with the child for an extended period before/during/after the event. Respect the other parent’s time with the child and keep interactions supportive but short.
RIGHTS OF PARENT AT ALL TIMES. (a) Unless limited by court order, a parent appointed as a conservator of a child has at all times the right:
(1) to receive information from any other conservator of the child concerning the health, education, and welfare of the child;
(2) to confer with the other parent to the extent possible before making a decision concerning the health, education, and welfare of the child;
(3) of access to medical, dental, psychological, and educational records of the child;
(4) to consult with a physician, dentist, or psychologist of the child;
(5) to consult with school officials concerning the child’s welfare and educational status, including school activities;
(6) to attend school activities;
(7) to be designated on the child’s records as a person to be notified in case of an emergency;
(8) to consent to medical, dental, and surgical treatment during an emergency involving an immediate danger to the health and safety of the child; and
(9) to manage the estate of the child to the extent the estate has been created by the parent or the parent’s family.