Summary of Common Family Law Terms (Vol. XI)

Summary of Common Family Law Terms (Vol. XI)Summary of Common Family Law Terms (Vol. XI)

At Nelson Law Group PC, we believe in educating our clients, which is why we added a weekly blog to break down even the most complex and intimidating family law topics into bite-size pieces that are easy to understand. Every once in a while, however, readers need a refresher course.

Below is Vol. XI of our common family law terms. While not an exhaustive list, what we hope is that some of these words and phrases will become less foreign to you if and when you need us. These are all terms we have detailed in previous blogs. Should you have a desire to learn more about each one, please visit our blog section.

If you scroll to the bottom of this post, you can find links to our previous 10 law terms posts.

Vol. XI Terms

Willful violation

A deliberate act as opposed to accidental or inadvertent. For example: if one parent actively impedes the visitation rights of another parent in a possession or access case, then that is a willful violation. On the other hand, if the visitation schedule wasn’t clearly defined, or there were extenuating circumstances, then that is not a willful violation.

Visitation schedule

A properly laid out plan for parental visitation time. This can be worked out between the parents of the child or determined by the court.

Superior Right of Possession of a child

The ultimate and final legal right of possession a parent has been granted by the court. For instances where both parents believe they have superior right of possession, one or both can file a petition to the court to make a determination.

Writ of Habeas Corpus

In a possession of a child case, this a court order (writ) that commands an individual who has possession of a child to return or release the child.

Writ of attachment

If needed, this writ involves having a sheriff or constable go find a child and physically bring them to the court if someone is refusing to respond to a writ of habeas corpus.


A party who brings a case (petition) before the court.


The party whom a petition is filed against.

Suit for damages

This suit allows a party in a case to seek an award, typically money, for damages they incurred from the offending party. An example is in a superior right of possession case, where a parent can seek monetary relief from the at-fault party for the financial expenses incurred from seeking legal help.

Burden of Proof

This is the burden that falls on the shoulders of someone who brings a case to court. It is that person’s responsibility to produce sufficient evidence to support their case. Burden of Proof is required in practically every court case, and the proof needed depends on the case.

Child-custody determination case

A judgment by the court that sets in place legal custody, physical custody, or visitation of a child. The judgment can result from a suit to establish conservatorship of a child, a suit for possession of or access to a child, or a suit to terminate the parent-child relationship.

Legal custody

Grants the parent the right to have managing conservatorship of a child. This means the parent can make decisions moving forward regarding the child’s best interest.

Physical custody

The ability a parent or non-parent has to provide physical care and supervision of a child. In other words, the child lives with the parents.

Home State

A child’s home state is the state he or she was born in and lives. A child must live in a state with a parent, or a person acting as a parent, for six consecutive months before the child-custody suit begins.

Significant-connection jurisdiction

The court’s ability to claim jurisdiction over a child-custody case even if the child has no home state. There are several factors that must be determined before a Texas court can make decisions based on a significant connection, including the parties proving that the child hasn’t lived in another state for six months leading up to the child-custody suit and that the child’s well being (care, protection, relationships) is better served in Texas.

Default jurisdiction

This type of court jurisdiction only comes into play if courts in all other states have declined jurisdiction to make a child-custody determination.

Here are individual links to our previous 10 terms lists: Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3, Vol. 4, Vol. 5, Vol. 6Vol. 7, Vol. 8, Vol. 9, Vol. 10. Before filing your case, give us a call. Our friendly staff is here to help you. For more information about Brett A Nelson click here.