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What is a Standard Possession Order and how does it impact the visitation I have with my kids?

Contrary to the views of many people, the most likely outcome for you and your family in your divorce or child custody case will not be the situation where a family court judge issues orders for you all to follow regarding possession and access to your children. Rather, you and your Co-parent will have every opportunity in the world to negotiate these subjects together. Typically, this is done three both informal negotiation as well as mediation.

Being able to take advantage of these opportunities is a key reason why I recommend that families like yours consider hiring an experienced family law attorney to represent you in your family case. The simple truth is that hiring an attorney who has and towards creativity, solution-oriented approaches to the law, as well as a desire to help you and your family first and foremost, can be exactly what you need to avoid a situation where you are relying upon a family court judge 2 decide important outcomes for your family.

At the end of the day, if you and your Co-parent our seriously unable to negotiate through the issues of your case then a family court judge will be available to help decide the matter for you all. However, this should be seen as a last resort and not something that the two of you ought to take advantage of without a great deal of consideration. If you are inexperienced at negotiation in the world of Texas family law or otherwise have communication problems with your Co-parent these may be legitimate hurdles to your being able to work through important issues related to your case. As a result, you may find yourself relying upon a family court judge’s decision-making unnecessarily. 

Rather than put yourself in a position where you find yourself leaving it up to a judge to decide your case you can decide to work with an attorney with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. It is normal to have concerns about visitation with your children as well as the ability of your family to build a lasting relationship with one another. there are certainly challenges that come about because of being involved in a family law case from our relational perspective. However, you can and should do something about those concerns rather than just worry about them in your sleep. Hiring one of our experienced lawyers to help walk you through your case and give you specific advice about what you and your family are going through is one way to alleviate the stress and hassle associated with negotiating a family law case with a Co-parent that you may not see eye to eye with on every subject related to your children.

We want you and your family to understand that our attorneys and staff are available to help you around the clock. To prove that our attorneys offer free of charge consultations for potential clients like yourself six days a week. These consultations are offered at our three Houston area locations, over the phone, and via video. Wherever you are in Southeast Texas we are here to help you. Do not be deterred by assumptions and fears associated with the family law case. You can begin your case sooner rather than later with the assistance of our experienced legal team.

The standard possession order in a Texas family law case

The default setting for a family court judge when it comes to assigning possession and access schedules is the standard possession order. If you have ever known anyone to have gone through a family law case, this person likely has some variation of a standard possession order as a part of their life. So long as your children are at least three years old then this is what you can expect to be handed down in your case. The major caveat to this general rule is if you or your Co-parent can convince the family court judge that is standard possession order is not in the best interest of your child then another type of possession schedule may be ordered.

Additionally, a standard possession order is frequently the basis for families like yours who go through mediation. This means that even if you do not anticipate your divorce or child custody case needing to go forward to a trial, you should still familiarize yourself with the basics of a senior position order so that you can be better educated on the basics of this type of parenting plan and schedule. Trying to learn the basics of the standard possession order during the divorce or childcare city case would not be the end of the world but learning about it now could save you valuable time and put you in a superior negotiating position when compared to your Co-parent.

You can find the standard possession order spelled out in the Texas family code. The hallmarks of the standard possession order or that it, theoretically, provides both you and your Co-parent with reasonable periods of possession in terms of frequency and duration. This means that you will have what the state legislature considers to be long periods of possession regularly. Some parents in your shoes may want to argue that point but let's consider the merits of a standard possession order from the perspective of a parent who has not had regular contact with their children in some time. 

For example, if you are a father who has lived apart from your children that you may have experienced this type of situation firsthand. Suppose that your child's mother has denied you visitation time with him or her for any number of reasons. You have to diligently pay child support as requested by your Co-parent, but you are frequently turned down for visitation opportunities. The reasons given by your Co-parent may change from time to time, but the result is that you were not able to spend as much time with your children as you would like.

This situation has led you to file a child custody case in your home county. Your goal is merely to gain a specific amount of her visitation time with your child during the year. While a standard possession order may not allow for as much time with your children as you would necessarily like the fact is that the time you are guaranteed with your child under a standard possession order there's certainly more than the time you would have had with the child with no possession order protecting you. 

the thing in your position is that if you are struggling to have consistent time with your child for no other reason than you have a difficulty working with Co-parent then you should work to establish some degree of possession regularity for the time being. In the future, if you have problems with possession then you can always attempt to work through those issues in a modification. However, losing time with your children now is not going to necessarily gain you anything in the future.

Hallmarks of the Standard Possession Order

There are certain defining features when it comes to a standard possession order that I think merit mentioning here. First, a standard possession order will create a situation where both you and your Co-parent will have designated parenting roles when it comes to raising your children. This is true, at least, regarding your titles. One of you will be a custodial parent and the other will be a non-custodial parent. The custodial parent has primary possession of the children and can designate the primary residence of the children. The non-custodial parent will have visitation rights to the children and will pay child support to the custodial parent. For a Texas standard possession order, the state uses terms such as managing conservator and possessory conservator.

You can look at a sample final decree of divorce or order in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship to see that there are two important designations when it comes to a possession schedule for parents after a child custody or divorce case. The first designation is if you and your coherent live within 100 miles of one another period the second designation is for parents who live more than 100 miles from one another. Here is what a possession schedule would likely look like under a standard possession order if you and your coherent live within 100 miles of each other.

For this example, let's assume that you are the possessory conservator and therefore have visitation rights to your children. In that case, under a standard possession order where you and your Co-parent live within 100 miles of one another, you would have possession of your child every first, 3rd, and 5th weekend of the month beginning at 6:00 PM on Friday and ending on 6:00 PM on Sunday. Additionally, during the school year, you would have a Thursday period of possession that began at 6:00 PM in ends at 8:00 PM. This would be an opportunity for you to briefly see your child each week no matter if you had possession of him that weekend or not. Essentially you could take him or her to dinner and then drop them back off at home for school the next day.

What happens regarding school holidays on Fridays and Mondays under a standard possession order?

there can be disagreement and confusion sometimes when there are school holidays on either Monday or Friday during the school year. Additionally, these issues can also arise during the summer months. We see this happen from time to time no with no holidays like Father's Day and Juneteenth. The question that we need to ask ourselves, and then answer, is to what extent these holidays will impact parents who have a standard possession order?

When it comes to hey school holiday on a Friday before the possessory conservator’s weekend visit, the visit with that parent will start on Thursday at 6:00 PM. From a practical standpoint, this extends your weekend visitation by an extra night and a day. However, this also means that you need to consider this for childcare. You should work with your employer to confirm that he will have time away from work or have childcare scheduled in advance. This may also be a situation where you could anticipate this happening during your child custody or divorce case and negotiate for a right of first refusal. 

On the other hand, if your child has a holiday on a Monday that follows the first, third or fifth weekend of the month during the school year then the holiday weekend will extend for you until 6:00 PM on that Monday. All of the same rules they consider applying for a Monday holiday that extends one of your weekends as it would for a Friday holiday that extends one of your weekends. The first holiday of the year that may the impacted by this rule is Martin Luther King Day in January. You need to arrange for childcare for your child, ask your Co-parent in advance if you can return your children early or be available yourself for childcare on that date.

Holiday and other important day visitation and possession rules under a standard possession order

For other holidays and special occasions during the year there are some rules that you need to be aware of under a standard possession order period of course, once you have your parenting plan in place you should check with the order first and foremost before relying upon any external source for information. However, before you go to court here is what you can expect in terms of a breakdown for holidays and other special occasions throughout the year.

We will walk through these holidays and special events in order based on when they occur during the year. First up is spring break. In a standard possession order, the custodial parent will have odd years for spring break and the noncustodial parent will have even years. The possession time begins at 6:00 PM on the day school lets out until 6:00 PM on the day before when school resumes. For most school districts in our area, that means 6:00 PM on a Friday and 6:00 PM two Sundays from that date. However, you should verify your specific court orders as well as the spring break schedule for your school district or school.

When it comes to Mother's Day and Father's Day, It doesn't matter what the standard possession order holds for the rest of the year. In this situation, the mother will always have Mother's Day weekend for herself, and a father will always have Father's Day weekend for himself. The weekend visitation would start and end stop at the normal times on Friday and Sunday respectively. A few things to note, however, is that with the addition of Juneteenth to the list of holidays that are honored by the federal government, Juneteenth extends some Father's Days by an additional day until 6:00 PM on that Monday. This is true if June 19th falls on a Sunday or Saturday and is therefore observed on a Monday.

For Thanksgiving break, the visitation is the inverse of what we saw for spring break. This means that the custodial parent we'll have possession of the child during even years in the non-custodial parent will have possession of the child for odd years. Whatever school lets out for Thanksgiving break that parent will have possession beginning at 6:00 PM and will then see their possession end at 6:00 PM on the day before school resumes.

Finally, the most complicated holiday is Christmas due to the length of the holiday itself. Christmas break is split up into two halves. The first half of Christmas begins at 6:00 PM on the day school that's out until December 28th at noon. Christmas falls during this time of year. The second half of the Christmas holiday begins at noon on the 28th of December and ends at 6:00 PM on the day before school resumes for the spring semester. For the non-custodial parent, we'll have the first half of Christmas break and even years in the second half of the odd years. Because sodium parent will have the reverse.

You and your Co-parent may create a scenario or set up a differs from this slightly or by a great deal. You should be aware of what you have signed up for before the end of your divorce or child custody case so that there are no surprises when it comes to creating an order that suits you and your family very well.

Questions about the material contained in today's blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you have any questions about the material contained in today's blog post, please do not hesitate to contact 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.

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