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Split Custody- Is it right for you and your family?

One of the goals that many potential clients of the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC have is to see their child as much as the other parent once their family law case is done and over with. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about a child custody or divorce case- parents seem to want the same thing a lot of the time.

This goal is usually held by the parent who believes that their child’s other parent will be the one to have primary conservatorship of the child (where the child lives with them primarily).

The question that I always ask these folks is whether or not they’ve considered if a split custody situation is something they should aim for. Resolving the issue of a possession schedule is probably the most challenging issue to get past in divorce, at least from the perspective of issues that relate to the child.

The State of Texas has laws contained in the Texas Family Code which get into a specific possession schedule that a judge can default to, known as the Standard Possession Order. If you and your spouse or child’s other parent cannot agree on a possession schedule before the trial, this is likely what a judge would order.

The best interests of your child are to be considered

The best interests of your child must be served by whatever schedule the judge comes up with, and it may be that a split or 50/50 possession schedule is proven to be what is in your child’s best interest. A standard possession schedule is more like a 55/45 split in time with your child.

This is close to a 50/50 split but not quite there. If you count yourself among those who want to achieve a 50/50 split in time with your child, then it is in your best interest to attempt to negotiate that sort of breakdown with your opposing party rather than leave it up to a judge.

What sort of variations on a 50/50 possession schedule exists?

When we consider precisely what a 50/50 possession schedule is, it is necessary to discuss that there are many different ways to accomplish your goal, at least as far as laying out a plan is concerned. For instance, older children can do well under a schedule where they alternate a week with you and a week with their other parent.

The thought would be that, especially during the school year, a week with one parent would allow for more excellent continuity, less time traveling, and more quality time to spend with their parent and doing school work. Older children are more mature typically and have the emotional capacity to handle this sort of schedule better than younger ones who may need to see both parents with more regularity.

One method of possession breakdown that I have seen be successful for parents is what is known as a 2-2-5. To illustrate this schedule a tad, you would have your child on Monday and Tuesday, and your ex-spouse would have possession on Wednesday and Thursday. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday would be alternated between you and your ex-spouse so that one of you would have five straight days of possession every week.

This allows for greater flexibility in terms of allowing your child to see both you and your ex-spouse with greater regularity while also instituting some extended periods of possession as well.

Another everyday possession schedule is what is known as the 2-2-3. As you can probably infer, this schedule allows for more frequent contact with each parent throughout a typical week compared to either the 2-2-5 or the week on/week off programs. The 2-2-3 works similarly to the 2-2-5, with the only difference being that after the week if you have the child on Sunday, your ex-spouse would have possession beginning on Monday.

The following week would alternate, and so on and so forth. This way, nobody would get more than three days with the child. I’ve seen this schedule work well for younger children who don’t have a rigid school or extracurricular program and want to see each of their parents more often.

Consider whether a 50/50 schedule works best for you and your child

A 50/50 possession schedule may work well for you, and it may not. I know that’s not a very definitive statement, but I can’t tell you with any certainty whether it would work for you and your family without knowing your circumstances. It may make sense to consider the following when deciding that issue for yourself:

  • Do you get along with the other parent? You don’t have to love them to pieces or even be able to have a long conversation. You need to communicate quickly and coordinate pick-up/drop-off situations with ease as they arise more frequently in 50/50 splits for possession.
  • Think about your child’s age, school schedule, and extracurriculars. I’ve already discussed this issue somewhat but would ask you to think about it regarding your child. If your child is involved with multiple school clubs or sports teams, maybe a 2-2-3 wouldn’t work well because of the increased demands of traveling back and forth between mom and dad?
  • Seriously consider the sort of schedule that allows you to have the most quality time with your child. This isn’t about your pride as a parent or attempting to limit the time your ex-spouse has with your child. This is parenting and the relationship with your child we’re talking about. If you don’t think you can get the quality time in with a 50/50 schedule, you may be better off with less time but more quality time.

Questions about possession schedules for your child? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC

If you have questions about possession schedules in the context of a divorce or child custody case, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. One of our licensed family law attorneys is available six days a week to discuss your case with you and answer any questions you may have.

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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas Divorce Lawyers

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's essential to speak with one of our Houston, TX, Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.

Our divorce lawyers in Houston, TX, are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact the 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 Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, Houston, 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.

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