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Child Custody and Visitation for Airline Employees in Texas Divorce Cases

Airline employees often face unique challenges when it comes to child custody and visitation arrangements during a divorce in Texas. While the state generally favors the Standard Possession Schedule for child custody, this schedule may not align with the irregular work schedules of airline employees. For example, the schedule specifies that the father can collect the child at 6:00 pm/the time the child’s school dismissal begins. However, it’s clear that airline employees may not always be able to adhere to this schedule.

In this blog, we will explore the rights of airline employees regarding child custody and visitation in Texas divorces.

Customized Possession Schedules

If Parents Agree:

The most straightforward solution is for parents to reach a mutual agreement on a customized possession schedule that accommodates the airline employee’s work schedule. Texas Family Code §153.255 allows the court to approve possession schedules based on the parents’ agreement.

If Parents Disagree:

In cases where parents cannot agree, the court will step in and determine the possession terms. To deviate from the Standard Possession Order, a parent must demonstrate that it is not in the child’s best interest. This can be challenging, as courts are generally hesitant to alter the standard schedule. However, Texas Family Code provides several provisions that emphasize the importance of frequent contact between children and both parents.

Airline Employee Schedule Example:

Variable Schedule

The court recognizes that FATHER is employed as an airline pilot with ______________ Airlines. Due to his unpredictable flight schedule, FATHER cannot have predictable possession periods on specific days of each month. FATHER receives his monthly work schedule about a month in advance, indicating his work hours.

IT IS ORDERED that within 48 hours of receiving his monthly work schedule, FATHER shall provide a copy to MOTHER either in person or by fax. FATHER will designate his possession periods using the provided form (Exhibit A). If any scheduling conflicts arise, MOTHER will promptly notify FATHER, and both parents will work together to resolve the conflict. If FATHER agrees to modify his possession period, he will have the right to possession during the alternate period he agrees to take.

FATHER’s possession rights are as follows:

Weekends:

FATHER may choose two weekends each month, starting at [choose: 6:00 P.M./the time of the child’s school dismissal/other specified time between dismissal and 6:00 P.M.] on Fridays and ending at [choose: 6:00 P.M. on the following Sunday/school resumption time after the weekend].

Extended Weekend Possession on Holidays:

If FATHER’s possession weekend coincides with a school holiday or a federal/state/local holiday during summer months when school is not in session, or if it begins or ends on such a holiday, the possession will begin at [choose: 6:00 P.M./school dismissal time/other specified time between dismissal and 6:00 P.M.] on the Thursday before the holiday weekend or end [choose: at 6:00 P.M. on the holiday Monday/at the time school resumes after the holiday], as applicable.

Weekdays:

FATHER may select one weekday each week (excluding Fridays) during the regular school term, starting at [cho