In Texas, parental rights and responsibilities still apply regardless of whether the parents were ever married or lived under the same roof.
With the exception of a situation involving a safety risk or harm, the statute on Conservatorship, Possession, and Access states as public policy that children should enjoy frequent, continuing contact with each parent.
As such, the law establishes guidelines for a Texas standard possession order, which other US states may refer to as visitation or parenting time.
Whether you’re the primary or secondary parent as far as residential arrangements, it’s important that you understand how standard possession orders work in Texas.
You can trust a Waco, TX child custody attorney to handle the details of your case, but a summary of the applicable legal concepts may be helpful.
Overview of Texas Standard Possession Laws
In sum, the appointment of the “primary” parent is a determination on the child’s main residence. That person has authority over the child at all times when he or she is not with the other parent, who is designated as the “secondary parent.” To use common terminology, the primary parent has custody and the secondary parent will enjoy Texas standard visitation rights.
The baseline for the visitation arrangement is the Texas Standard Possession Schedule, essentially a calendar that the secondary parent has the right to spend time with the child – and it imposes a legal obligation on the primary parent to allow visitation. However, the schedule is subject to adjustment based upon the unique needs of the family.
Texas Standard Possession Schedule Categories
There are three main categories within the statutory guidelines:
- For parents who live less than 100 miles apart, the secondary parent has the child for designated weekends, every Thursday evening, 30 days during summer break, and alternating Spring Breaks.
- Those who are separated by more than 100 miles must be more flexible. The secondary parent may elect every other weekend, or choose a single weekend per month upon notice to the primary parent. In addition, the secondary parent’s summer visitation is increased to 45 days and every Spring Break.
- Holidays are shared possession, regardless of the distance between parents’ residences. The dates of Thanksgiving and Christmas are alternating, but the full school break time is shared between the parents. Mother’s and Father’s Day belong to each respective parent.
These provisions for a standard possession order in Texas may not be suitable for children under three years old, so the law takes into account different factors.
The involvement of other siblings, the effects of emotional separation, and other considerations may impact the possession schedule for younger children.
Contact Our Waco, Texas Child Custody Attorneys to Discuss Your Case
For more information on how a Texas standard possession order may apply to your situation, please contact the Waco, TX Law Office of Simer & Tetens.