One of the goals that many potential clients of the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC have is to be able 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 him or her primarily).
The question that I always ask these folks is whether or not they’ve considered if a split custody situation is really something that they should aim for. Resolving the issue of a possession schedule is probably the most difficult issue to get past in a 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 in advance of 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, obviously. If you count yourself among those people 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 exist?
When we consider exactly 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 schedule is concerned. For instance, older children can do well under a schedule where they alternate a week on with you and a week on with their other parent.
The thought would be that, especially during the school year, a week on with one parent would allow for greater 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 common 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 when compared to either the 2-2-5 or the week on/week off schedules. The 2-2-3 works similarly to the 2-2-5 with the only difference being that at the conclusion of the week if you have the child on Sunday your ex-spouse would have possession beginning on Monday.
The following week would alternate, so on and so forth. This way nobody would get more than three straight days with the child. I’ve seen this schedule work well for younger children who don’t have a rigid school or extracurricular schedule and also 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 individual 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 him or her to pieces or even be able to have a long conversation. You do need to be able to communicate easily 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 as it pertains to 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 to 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 important to speak with one of our Houston, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
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