Child custody and visitation can either be addressed in a divorce or in a suit affecting the parent child relationship (also known as a SAPCR), which is a suit filed when the parties are not married but have a child(dren) in common or do not wish to divorce but need issues of custody, visitation and child support addressed in an order.
Two Types of Child Custody
There are two types of custody: joint managing conservatorship and sole managing conservatorship. Joint managing conservatorship is the most common type of custody arrangement. Parents work together to decide on major issues such as education, religious upbringing and medical care issues; however, the custodial parent usually decides the primary residence of the child. Sole managing conservatorship can greatly limits access to children and the decision making ability of the non-custodial parent. This may be a good alternative when there is a history of conflict, domestic violence or other issues that would prevent the parents from successfully collaborating together for the sake of the children.
Standard Possession Order in Texas
Many parents agree to a standard possession order which lays out a basic visitation schedule. It is comprised of the following:
NON-CUSTODIAL PARENT HAS POSSESSION OF THE CHILD(DREN) ON THE FIRST, THIRD, AND FIFTH WEEKEND OF EACH MONTH. IT COMMENCES EACH FRIDAY AT 6:00PM OR RIGHT AFTER SCHOOL THROUGH SUNDAY AT 6:00PM OR THROUGH MONDAY MORNING WHEN SCHOOL COMMENCES. THE NON-CUSTODIAL PARENT CAN ALSO HAVE POSSESSION OF THE CHILD(DREN) EACH THURSDAY OF EVERY WEEK FROM 6PM-8PM OR RIGHT AFTER SCHOOL THROUGH THE NEXT MORNING WHEN SCHOOL COMMENCES. HOLIDAYS ARE SPLIT 50:50 AND ARE ALTERNATED EACH YEAR. THE NON-CUSTODIAL PARENT CAN ELECT TO HAVE THE CHILD(REN) EACH SUMMER FOR 30 DAYS IF SHE/HE LIVES WITHIN 100 MILES OF THE CHILD OR FOR 42 DAYS IF THE NON-CUSTODIAL PARENTS LIVES FARTHER THAN 100 MILES AWAY.
This Standard Possession Order is pursuant to the Texas Family Code Section 153.311-153.317.
Expanded Standard Possession Order in Texas
A non-custodial parent may elect to exercise an “expanded” standard possession order under the Texas Family Code which is best utilized when both parents live in fairly close proximity to one another. It is comprised of the following:
NON-CUSTODIAL PARENT HAS POSSESSION OF THE CHILD(DREN) ON THE FIRST, THIRD, AND FIFTH WEEKEND OF EACH MONTH STARTING ON THURSDAY AFTER SCHOOL IS DISMISSED UNTIL THE MONDAY MORNING AFTER THE WEEKEND WITH A RETURN TO SCHOOL ONLY DURING THE SCHOOL YEAR. ON THE ALTERNATING WEEKS THE NON-CUSTODIAL PARENT HAS POSSESSION OF THE CHILD(DREN) AFTER SCHOOL ON THURSDAY UNTIL FRIDAY MORNING THE NEXT DAY. HOLIDAYS AND SUMMER SCHEDULES FOLLOW THE STANDARD POSSESSION ORDER.
It is important to note that the courts encourage and support both parents having active and substantial roles in the children’s lives. Co-parenting is encouraged and disparagement of the other parent is discouraged. Ideal outcomes involve both parents getting along for the best interests of the children.
Contact Our Experienced Child Custody Attorney
For more information about how The Kutty Law Firm can assist you with complex child custody and visitation matters, please call 713-568-5401 or complete our online contact form. We proudly welcome and represent clients from Sugar Land, Conroe, The Woodlands, Houston, Katy, Montgomery, Brazoria and Fort Bend counties, along with nearby areas of Texas.