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Standard Possession Order

Dallas Child Custody Lawyers Helping Parents Protect Their Rights

When people who have children decide to divorce or end their relationship, they will often ask the courts to determine their custody rights. The Texas courts’ primary goal in any custody proceeding is to rule in the best interest of the child. While the courts determine conservatorship, or legal custody rights, on a case-by-case basis, they generally presume that it is in a child’s best interest for the parents to share physical custody, or possession, in accordance with the Standard Possession Order. As such, it is important for anyone involved in a custody matter to understand the terms of the Order and how it may impact their rights. If you need assistance with a child custody matter, it is in your best interest to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. The dedicated Dallas child custody lawyers of the McClure Law Group can inform you of your options and help you to seek an outcome that benefits you and your child.

Standard Possession Order

Pursuant to the Texas Family Code (the “Code”) it is presumed that the Standard Possession Order is in the best interest of any child that is three or older. The Code dictates that the Order must state that the parents can have possession of their child whenever they both agree. In cases in which parents do not agree, the Order provides default terms for possession.

If the parents live within 100 miles of one another, the non-custodial parent has the right to possession on the first, third, and fifth weekends of each month and each Thursday evening during the school year. They also have the right to possession for 30 days during the child’s summer vacation.

If the parents reside more than 100 miles apart, the non-custodial parent may either have possession of the child on the first, third, and fifth weekends of each month, or they may elect visitation on just one weekend of their choosing a month. Unlike the schedule that applies to parents who live within 100 miles of one another, there is no Thursday visitation. The non-custodial can exercise their visitation rights for 42 days in the summer rather than 30, though. Additionally, they have possession of the child during their spring break from school.

The holiday possession schedule set forth by the Code applies regardless of how far apart the parents live. It provides that each year the parents should alternate possession of the child on Thanksgiving and the first and second half of Christmas break, while a father has possession of a child on Father’s Day, and a mother has possession of a child on Mother’s Day.

Deviations From the Standard Possession Order

In some cases, a judge may find that the Standard Possession Order is inappropriate or does not work for the parties. As such, the court may issue a modified possession order. In assessing whether to deviate from the Standard Possession Order, the court should consider the developmental status, age, and needs of the child, the circumstances of each parent, and any other factor it deems relevant. In matters in which a parent’s possession of a child is contested and the court deviates from the Standard Order, a party can request that the court set forth the reasons for departing from the Standard Order in writing.

Talk to a Knowledgeable Dallas Attorney

While the Standard Possession Order is appropriate in many custody cases, in some instances, deviations from the Standard Order are necessary. If you have questions about custody or visitation, it is wise to talk to a knowledgeable attorney. The Dallas lawyers of McClure Law Group understand the importance of protecting parental rights, and, if we represent you, we will advocate assertively on your behalf. Our primary office is located in Dallas, and we are available to meet clients for conferences at our Collin-County office in Plano. We regularly represent parties in custody proceedings in Dallas, Rockwall, Fort Worth, Frisco, Irving, McKinney, Richardson, and Garland. We also aid people in family-law cases in cities in Dallas, Rockwall, Collin, Denton, Tarrant, and Grayson Counties. You can reach us by calling 214.692.8200 or using our form online to set up a confidential meeting.

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