When parents split up, it can be difficult to decide how to divide the children’s time. In Texas, parents that are able to come to an agreement have a lot of flexibility to create a schedule that works best for them and their children. When parents are unable to agree, will have less limited options, but still have an opportunity to deviate from the standard for possession in Texas.
What Is the Standard Possession Order?
Texas law provides a schedule for possession that the courts presume to be in the best interest of the child. If you do not reach an agreement with the other parent in your divorce or custody suit, it is likely that you will have a standard possession schedule.
This schedule provides that one parent, the primary parent, will have the child by default all of the times the non-primary parent does not have possession. The non-primary parent will be entitled to possession of the child on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekends of each month, starting on Friday and ending on Sunday. The standard schedule also provides for alternating holidays between the parents and an extended period of time for the non-primary parent in the summer.
The Standard Possession Order does offer a small amount of flexibility. A parent may ask for the exchange times to be set either at the time school ends and begins, or at 6:00 p.m. For example, on the non-primary parent’s weekend, he will have possession beginning on Friday, but may wish to pick the child up from school at the time school is dismissed rather than exchanging at 6:00 p.m.
A parent that would be awarded a Standard Possession Order can also request the expanded Standard schedule. This allows the parent to have overnight possession of the child every Thursday, beginning when school is released and ending when school resumes on Friday. The parent’s regular weekend possession will also be extended to begin Thursday, instead of Friday, and end Monday when the child returns to school, instead of Sunday night.
What If the Standard Possession Order Does Not Fit My Family’s Needs?
If this schedule does not work for your family, you and the other parent would benefit from reaching an agreement on possession. Although you may request the court to deviate from the Standard Possession Order, you will have more flexibility if you are able to agree with the other party. By agreement, you can create a custom schedule that fits the specific needs of your family.
This can be beneficial when parents have unusual work schedules or want a schedule that is closer to a 50/50 possession schedule, giving each parent equal time with the children. There are no limitations on custom possession schedules as long as parties are in agreement and the schedule is in the best interest of the child. If those criteria are met, the court will approve your agreement.
Contact our Family Law Office in Fort Worth, Texas
For more information about the Standard Possession Order, or for legal advice regarding your child custody case, contact the Fort Worth family lawyers at Lovelace Law, P.C.