Certain professions such being an airline employee have unique custody situations. As discussed in a previous blog regarding firefighters the readers of our blog will know that in Texas there is a presumption that the Standard Possession Schedule is in the “best interest of the child.”
However, for many airline employees that schedule is not compatible for someone who has an airline employees’ work schedule. In today’s blog, we will tackle what rights an airline employee has in regard to child custody and visitation during a Texas Divorce.
Airline Employee Possession Schedules
If Parents Can Agree
The easiest solution is if parents can agree then just about any customized schedule can be worked out to accommodate the airline employee.
Texas Family Code §153.255 states that “the court may render an order for period of possession of a child that vary from the standard possession order based on the agreement of the parties.”
If the case is settled without mediation a judge may still overrule a parent’s schedule. One way to ensure that this does not happen is to settle the case in mediation.
I have listed a suggested airline employee schedule from the Advanced Family Law Conference further down.
If Parent’s Can Not Agree
However, if parents are unable to agree then the case will need to go to court and a Judge will dictate the terms of possession. As mentioned earlier it will be necessary to establish that a Standard Possession Order is not in the best interest of the child. This is something courts are reluctant to do.
However, there are avenues in the family law for making just such an argument. Under the family code:
- Texas Family Code §153.002 provides: “The best interest of the child shall always be the primary consideration of the court in determining the issues of conservatorship and possession of and access to the child.”
- Texas Family Code §153.001 provides: “(a) The public policy of this state is to: (1) assure that children will have frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interest of the child;”
- The Texas Family Code §153.251(b) elaborates on the policy of Texas to “encourage frequent contact between a child and each parent for periods of possession that optimize the development of a close and continuing relationship between each parent and child.”
- Texas Family Code §153.253 provides: “The court shall render an order that grants periods of possession of the child as similar as possible to those provided by the standard possession order if the work schedule or other special circumstances of the managing conservator, the possessory conservator, or the child, or the year-round school schedule of the child, make the standard order unworkable or inappropriate.”
Airline Employee Schedule
(c) Variable Schedule
The Court finds that FATHER is currently employed as an airline pilot with ______________ Airlines and, due to his work and flight schedule, he is currently unable to exercise predictable periods of possession occurring on the same days of each month. The Court finds that FATHER receives his work and flight schedule on or about the same day of each month and that the schedule sets out the hours FATHER is to work the following month.
IT IS ORDERED that within 48 hours of receiving his monthly work schedule from his employer, FATHER shall provide a true and correct copy of his schedule to MOTHER by hand-delivery or by facsimile, and shall designate his periods of possession in accordance with this order, by using the form attached to this order as Exhibit A. Upon receipt of FATHER’s schedule and designation of periods of possession, MOTHER shall promptly notify FATHER of any conflict in scheduling and both parties shall work together to resolve any such conflict. In the event FATHER agrees to modify his designation of a period of possession in response to MOTHER’s notification, FATHER shall have the right to possession of the child during the alternate periods of possession he agrees to take.
Except as otherwise explicitly provided in this Possession Order, FATHER shall have the right to possession of the child as follows:
Two weekends of his choice each month, beginning at [select one: 6:00 P.M./the time the child’s school is regularly dismissed/or specify other time elected between school dismissal and 6:00 P.M.], on Friday and ending at [select one: 6:00 P.M. on the following Sunday/the time the child’s school resumes after the weekend].
- Weekend Possession Extended by a Holiday
Except as otherwise explicitly provided in this Possession Order, if a weekend period of possession by FATHER begins on a Friday that is a school holiday during the regular school term or a federal, state, or local holiday during the summer months when school is not in session, or if the period ends on or is immediately followed by a Monday that is such a holiday, that weekend period of possession shall begin at [select one: 6:00 P.M./the time the child’s school is regularly dismissed/or specify other time elected between school dismissal and 6:00 P.M.] on the Thursday immediately preceding the Friday holiday or school holiday or end [select one: at 6:00 P.M. on that Monday holiday or school holiday/at 6:00 P.M. on that Monday holiday or at the time school resumes after that school holiday], as applicable.
One weekday of his choice (excluding Fridays) each week during the regular school term, beginning at [select one: 6:00 P.M./the time the child’s school is regularly dismissed/or specify other time elected between school dismissal and 6:00 P.M.] and ending at [select one: 8:00 P.M./the time the child’s school resumes the following day].
IT IS ORDERED that the preceding Possession Order shall apply until such time as FATHER is no longer employed as an airline pilot. In the event FATHER is no longer employed as an airline pilot, IT IS ORDERED that the conservators shall have the right to possession of the child as follows:
INCLUDE STANDARD POSSESSION ORDER
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