Understanding Possession and Access Rights

Navigating the complexities of parenting time is a significant aspect of family law. Texas law places a strong emphasis on promoting regular and meaningful interaction between parents and their children. This segment delves into the concept of possession and access, outlining the standard possession order that outlines the schedule for each parent's time with their child. Furthermore, we'll explore flexible alternatives that can be tailored to fit your specific family dynamics

Possession and Access

The standard possession order in Texas outlines visitation schedules for non-custodial parents, including weekends, school vacations, and holidays….

Possession and Access

Public policy in the State of Texas provides that it is in the best interest of the child to have frequent and ongoing contact with each parent. While there is much debate amongst parents, family law attorneys, and Judges about what that actually means, section 153.252 of the Texas Family Code provides that the standard possession order, enumerated below, presumably provides the reasonable minimum possession that is in the best interest of the child. Meaning, unless the parent can prove otherwise, this is the standard the courts are instructed to use when determining periods of possession and access for a parent named possessory conservator or who is a joint managing conservator, without the right to designate the primary residency. The language under section 153.312 of the Texas Family Code provides that the standard possession order looks as follows:

PARENTS WHO RESIDE 100 MILES OR LESS APART. 

a.If the possessory conservator resides 100 miles or less from the primary residence of the child, the possessory conservator shall have the right to possession of the child as follows:

  1. on weekends throughout the year beginning at 6 p.m. on the first, third, and fifth Friday of each month and ending at 6 p.m. on the following Sunday; and
  2. on Thursdays of each week during the regular school term beginning at 6 p.m. and ending at 8 p.m., unless the court finds that visitation under this subdivision is not in the best interest of the child.

b.The following provisions govern possession of the child for vacations and certain specific holidays and supersede conflicting weekend or Thursday periods of possession. The possessory conservator and the managing conservator shall have rights of possession of the child as follows:

  1. the possessory conservator shall have possession in even-numbered years, beginning at 6 p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school for the school’s spring vacation and ending at 6 p.m. on the day before school resumes after that vacation, and the managing conservator shall have possession for the same period in odd-numbered years;
  2. if a possessory conservator:
  3. gives the managing conservator written notice by April 1 of each year specifying an extended period or periods of summer possession, the possessory conservator shall have possession of the child for 30 days beginning not earlier than the day after the child’s school is dismissed for the summer vacation and ending not later than seven days before school resumes at the end of the summer vacation, to be exercised in not more than two separate periods of at least seven consecutive days each, with each period of possession beginning and ending at 6 p.m. on each applicable day; or
  4. does not give the managing conservator written notice by April 1 of each year specifying an extended period or periods of summer possession, the possessory conservator shall have possession of the child for 30 consecutive days beginning at 6 p.m. on July 1 and ending at 6 p.m. on July 31;
  5. if the managing conservator gives the possessory conservator written notice by April 15 of each year, the managing conservator shall have possession of the child on any one weekend beginning Friday at 6 p.m. and ending at 6 p.m. on the following Sunday during one period of possession by the possessory conservator under Subdivision (2), provided that the managing conservator picks up the child from the possessory conservator and returns the child to that same place; and
  6. if the managing conservator gives the possessory conservator written notice by April 15 of each year or gives the possessory conservator 14 days’ written notice on or after April 16 of each year, the managing conservator may designate one weekend beginning not earlier than the day after the child’s school is dismissed for the summer vacation and ending not later than seven days before school resumes at the end of the summer vacation, during which an otherwise scheduled weekend period of possession by the possessory conservator will not take place, provided that the weekend designated does not interfere with the possessory conservator’s period or periods of extended summer possession or with Father’s Day if the possessory conservator is the father of the child.

c. Notwithstanding Section 153.316, after receiving notice from the managing conservator under Subsection (b)(3) of this section designating the summer weekend during which the managing conservator is to have possession of the child, the possessory conservator, not later than the 15th day before the Friday that begins that designated weekend, must give the managing conservator written notice of the location at which the managing conservator is to pick up and return the child.

As discussed at the beginning, the standard possession order is a rebuttal possession and you are not limited to just asking for this type of possession order. It is important to speak with an attorney that is familiar with the facts specific to your case so that you can work through the options that work best for all parties and is most appropriate in your circumstance.

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Specializing Attorneys on this Area

Jessica Estorga

Attorney, Shareholder

West & West, Greer & Estorga

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