Handling changing work schedules while negotiating a possession order in Texas

How many of you are contract employees? You work a job for a period of time and then move on to the next one when your current contract runs out? Sometimes you go weeks or even months in between working. Other folks work inconsistent hours due to seasonal issues related to their job or even downturns in the economy. Whatever your particular work situation it is likely that you do not work the traditional, 9-5 job that our parent’s generation grew up with.

The fact is that the economy is shifting towards placing workers in situations that allow for greater flexibility. Working from home is a benefit that many of us enjoy in today’s economy. The flip side of that flexibility is that there is perhaps less security than in years past when it comes to employment and income. I don’t know whether this is a trend that is irreversible or is an episodic event that will see employment revert back to more “traditional” hours. Regardless, the reality is that right now the odds are high that either you or your spouse have a job with atypical hours and responsibilities.

Nonprimary parents who have irregular work schedules offer problems for parents in a divorce

One of the more difficult and tedious processes that a person will have to go through in a divorce is negotiating a parenting plan/possession schedule. First of all, every parent wants to be able to spend as much time as possible with their child. This should come as a shock to nobody. Parents fight long and hard to win more and more time with their child.

Secondly, family circumstances often come into play that forces both sides to change their plan of attack when it comes to settling on a plan to use for visitation. For instance, if you have a job that requires you to work every weekend, but you are also the nonprimary parent then you have a problem. That problem revolves around your needing to work on the main source of your time with your child each month. During the school year unless we are talking about a holiday the only consistent time you have with your child is during the weekend.

The problem that many clients and even their attorneys do not always consider strongly enough is the possibility that even if you are able to come up with a visitation schedule that allows a person to work and see their child regularly, there may be an enforceability issue concerning the order. The reason being is that the language in an order needs to be extremely specific in order to be enforceable. If the language in your order is flexible, but not specific, this may cost you in the long run.

What happens when you or your spouse have an addiction to drugs or alcohol?

It is always a very sad situation when a parent has an addiction to drugs or alcohol. If this describes you or your spouse then this section is especially important for you. A judge will primarily be concerned with your child’s safety and well being. I think you would agree that this is the primary concern that you and your spouse have as well. Unfortunately, if you are addicted to drugs or alcohol your ability to honor this concern can impact your divorce as well.

If it comes out in your divorce that you either have issues related to abuse of alcohol or drugs and/or you have already failed a drug test within your divorce you will likely face the circumstances of having to negotiate a unique possession order that takes these facts into consideration. For instance, you are likely going to be forced to undergo drug testing. Who pays for these orders depends. At first, you could be the one to be liable for the costs of drug testing.

Once you have taken and passed a sufficient number of these tests the responsibility to pay for them could shift to your spouse. In lieu of paying for the tests, a parent may simply tell you that you don’t need to take the tests any longer. If you pass tests and show an improved capacity to live a sober life you can be awarded more time with your child. A failure to take seriously the requirement that you live a sober life may result in your visitation time with your child being curtailed or even eliminated altogether.

What you need to do to win on these issues in court

The end result of having these goals in mind is preparing for and making winning arguments in a courtroom to a judge regarding why your situation demands unique possession orders specific to you and your spouse. Evidence in the form of photographs and documents can help you to be able to win in court.

Let’s consider an example before pressing on to different subject matter. Suppose that you are requesting that your summer possession schedule not resemble the SPO. You will need to present more evidence to a judge than a simple assertion that your spouse is not a trustworthy person. Rather, you must testify as to specific reasons why it is appropriate for a court to not follow the SPO in this regard. Always remember that any decision a judge makes in your case will be done to meet the best interests of your child.

Also, if you have a child who is under the age of three it is helpful to make sure your judge is aware of your child’s normal routine. Stability and consistency in parenting are important- and I would argue that they are especially so when it comes to a young child. As we’ve discussed in prior blog posts, whether or not your child is being breastfed, who watches your child during the workday and if your child has ever had overnight visits away from his or her home are important considerations for you to argue to a judge depending on what side of the issue you find yourself in your specific divorce case.

If you are the squeaky wheel be prepared to present your plan

The squeaky wheel in any negotiation needs to be prepared to do extra work to prepare options and plans for their spouse as well as a judge. If you want to propose an outside the box idea to your spouse in mediation you need to come prepared with multiple iterations of that plan.

If you are in a trial setting your attorney needs to have multiple versions of orders ready to go for a judge to sign off on should he or she side with you. Don’t assume that a judge will do the legwork for you- odds are he or she will not. This drastically reduces your ability to achieve whatever your goals are in your divorce case.

Questions on family law in Texas? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC

The attorneys and staff with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC take a great deal of pride in working with our clients on achieving whatever their goals are. While no two cases are the same, our office has a history of reaching goals and satisfying our client’s expectations. To learn more about our office please contact us today to set up a free of charge consultation.

A consultation with our office is free of charge and are available with one of our licensed family law attorneys six days a week.


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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Spring Divorce Lawyer

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it’s important to speak with ar Spring, TX Divorce Lawyer right away to protect your rights.

A divorce lawyer in Spring TX is skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Spring, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.