One of the most important aspects of any family court order is for the language that is included in the order to be easily understood by you and your Co-parent. Many times, people in your position will assume that they understand every aspect of their possession and access orders when the reality of the situation is quite different. Things can get lost in translation between mediation and final orders so that what you wind up with in your orders looks different than what you understood to be the case when leaving mediation.
Sometimes this isn’t such a big deal. You can reread your orders after the divorce case is complete and learn what your responsibilities are as far as visitation, possession, and access are concerned. However, in some situations, you and your Co-parent failing to understand the ins and outs of your custody agreement can be enough to cause a great deal of confusion and frustration throughout the year. This is a shame considering the visitation time that you have with your child should be spent enjoying one another and not having to worry about misunderstandings regarding pickup, drop off, or any other details.
For that reason, I think it is important for you to have not only a basic understanding of a standard possession order but also a strong understanding of what your specific orders state in terms of the logistics of possession and access. It may seem boring or mundane to discuss issues regarding the transportation of your child to and from your home and that of your Co-parent. In truth, it probably is. However, possession and access to your child change to a certain extent once you begin discussing holidays like spring break. Do not assume that spring break will be handled like an extended weekend would be. In your case, there may be specific points to keep in mind and changes may need to be considered regarding how you are approaching this holiday.
Preferably, these are lessons that you can learn before the end of your divorce or child custody case. It is better to ask questions and learn more about Your court orders now rather than trying to figure them out after your family law cases already come to an end. For instance, you can generally speak and learn a great deal about the details of order by working directly with your attorney during that process. This can be a great learning experience for you and can also put you in a position where you can learn about how holiday visitation can be approached in a productive and cooperative manner about your Co-parent.
However, we also understand that it may not be possible for you to jump in a time machine and go back to when your order was being written if your divorce or child custody case is already over with. In that case, you may be struggling to manage your Expectations and also keep track of how holiday possession in access differs from typical weekend possession during the school year. If you would like to have an attorney sit down with you and review your order and provide you with information then look no further than the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as about how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.
What is a standard possession order?
Before we go any further with today’s blog post I wanted to take some time to discuss with you what a standard possession order is. To begin with, in a standard possession order there’s something that comes straight out of the Texas family code. This codebook features the statutes and laws that family court judges utilize to make decisions in cases across our state. The standard possession order is a state law that was passed by the Texas Legislature which intends to ensure that both you and your Co-parent would have an opportunity to take part in a meaningful relationship with your child for over a year.
The standard possession order is highlighted by the first, 3rd, and 5th weekend of each month’s possession for the non-custodial parent, also known as the possessory conservator. In simple language, this is the parent with whom the children do not live primarily. If you are the possessory conservator then your children do not live with you during the school week but come and see you on the first, 3rd, and 5th weekends of each month during the school year.
Holiday visitation, including spring break, is split based on the year between you and your Co-parent. So while school year visitation favors the primary conservator in terms of time, holiday visitation tends to be much more equal in terms of being able to split up the year between you and your Co-parent. Most of the time spring break is a one-week holiday with weekends beginning and ending that. On either side of spring break. All in all, the holiday equals 9 digits counting the weekends. You will have possession of your Kids during spring break in either even or odd years while your Co-parent takes whichever year you do not have.
A standard possession order is a frequent Template for family court judges to utilize when dividing up possession between two parents because of a family law case. Not only is it fairly equitable in terms of the allocation of time between the parents and households during the year but it is a tried-and-true method that is literally in the Texas family code. Judges are famously conservative in terms of awarding possession to either parent. This means that the judge will not go out on a limb and award possession that is out to favor one parent or the other. A standard possession order is the epitome of a conservative position order for parents.
However, you should also be aware that it is not a given for a family court judge to issue orders when it comes to your family law case. On the contrary, you and your Co-parent will be given every opportunity to be able to settle your case before a trial in front of a judge. This is typically done through informal settlement negotiation as well as through mediation. In mediation, you and your spouse plus your attorneys will be able to take advantage of an experienced family law mediator to facilitate discussion and arrive at settlement negotiations on any outstanding topic in your case including possession and access orders.
in my opinion, this is truly where a family law attorney can earn their salary from a paying client like yourself. While we imagine family law attorneys and lawyers, in general, to be most valuable in a courtroom, odds are good that you and your Co-parent will never actually see the inside of a courtroom for a contested hearing. Rather, the most likely outcome in your family law case is that of a settlement either informally or in negotiations within mediation itself. If your attorney can diligently negotiate on your behalf in these settings then you can avoid that I’m, money and risk commitments that come with attending a contested trial.
Ultimately, you and your Co-parent do withstand a certain degree of risk by attempting to engage in a trial against one another. Sometimes, it is as capable if the two of you have attempted to work on the issues of your case unsuccessfully through negotiation. This occurs frequently if the both of you are trying to become primary conservatories have your children, For example. In other situations, however, you can’t avoid trials by simply working to meet in the middle with your Co-parent. That way you can’t exert a certain degree of control over the outcome of your case. I cannot tell you how often it occurs where parties in your position will attend a trial and at the end of the case will say that neither person got what they wanted. That is a common outcome when you consider a divorce or child custody trial.
Not only are you able to exert a certain degree of control and autonomy over your case if you avoid its trial but you can also create solutions that are based on the exact circumstances of your life. No matter how much you and your Co-parent may disagree on various issues, no one knows your life better than you and your Co-parent. When we talk about making decisions that are in the best interests of your children even the parents who disagree the most about their kids will have a basic understanding of children better than a family court judge. This is true even after a one- or two-day trial on possession and access.
Therefore, if you are ready to work diligently towards the conclusion of a divorce or child custody matter then reaching out to an experienced attorney with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan may ultimately be the advantage that you need when it comes to working through these issues and being diligent about doing so. Our attorneys will help you create a plan and work through issues in your case intelligently and intentionally. Do not assume that your case will have to proceed to a trial without first attempting to negotiate with your Co-parent. When communication is a problem negotiation is difficult. The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan are prepared to help you bridge that gap and reach a consensus in your case before you lose time and money unnecessarily.
Managing spring break holidays with your child and a Co-parent
The first piece of information that I will share with you when it comes to spring break with your child is that you should not rely primarily on any information, I provide you in this blog post when it comes to pick up, drop off, or the beginning and end of this holiday. I am going to give you information based on a standard possession order in Texas. In that case, spring break begins at 6:00 PM on Friday which precedes spring break, and ends at 6:00 PM on Sunday just before school goes back in session the following weekend. That is what the Texas family code outlines as spring break under a standard possession order.
However, just as we finish discussing a moment ago how possession and access orders for your case may differ from what’s in your possession order I will again mention how your court orders may be completely different than the standard possession order. The beauty of family court orders in Texas is that you and your Co-parent are free to negotiate through the issues of your case in a way that works best for your family. So, you cannot be entirely sure that what your family has agreed to Well match up perfectly with the standard position order for any holiday. You should review and then re-review your court orders to verify your possession orders or what you believe them to be.
For many families, spring break could be a time where you attempt to get a preview of what summer vacation is going to be like. This is especially true if this is your first year sharing custody of your child with a Co-parent. If you are the possessory Conservatory child spring break may be your first opportunity to have your child over to your home since the rendition of court orders. Or, if you are beginning your divorce case right now in the beginning part of July then your case may wind up completing itself at the beginning of the following year. In that case, your first extended period of possession with your child may be spring break of that year.
The first thing that you should do if you have questions about spring break possession under your court orders is to read the court order. You would be surprised at how often people make simple mistakes by overlooking or misunderstanding some aspect of their court orders. You may have missed or remembered something or assumed something that was not in the orders. Either way, do not make this mistake, and instead be sure that you have reviewed those court orders so that you are accurate in terms of your expectations for spring break. If you have questions you can consult with one of our attorneys and we’ll be happy to provide you with some information and help if necessary.
Just as importantly, you should make sure that you and your Co-parent are on the same page when it comes to possession and access during spring break. If you all have agreed to hey standard position order, then spring break should be straightforward. However, if you all have deviated from a standard possession order then you may want to pay closer attention to the custody provision so that you understand what is expected of you as far as a beginning and end point to your possession for spring break.
If you are going on a trip for spring break, then you should disclose the information about the trip to your Co-parent. This is a good practice to get into for several reasons. The first of which is that it is good for emergency purposes if nothing else. Sometimes things go wrong on vacations. Giving your child’s mother or father information about where you will be going on your vacation is a smart practice simply to make sure that he or she is aware of where you are in case you need help or otherwise something happens. It also allows your Co-parent to have some degree of Peace of Mind about where you will be taking your child.
The other key point to think about here is that there may be a requirement in your court orders that you have to disclose information about a trip that you are taking with your child to your Co-parent. This doesn’t mean that you must print out a specific itinerary for each day you will be gone. However, it likely does mean that you would have to disclose information like emergency contact phone numbers, the location of your vacation as well as where you will be staying. This information is not always necessary or included in court orders, but it may be in your case. Consult with your order specifically to see what is required of you.
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