Parents who are contemplating separation are often confused about what types of visitation rights each parent will have with the children. Today's blog post will address what is known as the "Standard Possession Order", which is the visitation schedule that most Courts typically order. Today's blog post will summarize the important elements of the Standard Possession Order.
WHAT IS THE STANDARD POSSESSION ORDER?
Texas law sets forth the dates and times for possession of children by the non-primary managing conservator. It is important to note that, despite the Court order setting forth the detailed standard possession order, both parents may mutually agree from day to day what periods of possession each may have. This is important, because for most families, life does not revolve around the standard possession order. If both parents cooperate and exercise flexibility, the children will greatly benefit from not having to follow the letter of the law.
The Standard Possession Order includes periods of possession for the 1, 3 and 5th weekends of each month, one weeknight each week during the school year, 30 days during each summer, alternating Spring Breaks and Thanksgiving holidays, and alternating halves of every Christmas break. Additional specific provisions are included for the children's birthdays, Mother's Day and Father's Day. Exchange locations are defined in the Order.
Weekends as defined by the Standard Possession Order begin at 6:00 p.m. on the first, third and fifth Friday of each month and end at 6:00 p.m. on the following Sunday. However, the "expanded" Standard Possession Order provides the non-primary managing conservator with the option to pick the children up from school on Fridays and return the children to school on Monday morning, and for the weeknight visitation to begin at the time school is dismissed and end at the time school resumes the next day.
Careful negotiation and planning for a proper visitation schedule are important for both parents. While the Standard Possession Order is legally presumed to be in the best interest of children, variances to it are often negotiated so that the visitation schedule actually works well for the children and parents. Christiansen Law Firm has significant experience in working with both custodial parents and non-custodial parents to accomplish workable visitation schedules. Christiansen Law Firm can review your situation and recommend creative and viable visitation solutions. For more information about how Christiansen Law Firm can guide you in your custody and visitation matter, please contact our offices in Houston or San Antonio.