You got joint custody, so now what? Who gets your child/children on what days?
Now you have completed the divorce process and have been given joint custody (conservatorship) you wonder how does this work? In Texas, when it comes to parental time with the children, the courts follow the Standard Possession Order (SPO), which is presumed to be in the best interest of a child. A court can vary from the standard possession order based on the circumstances of a particular family or if the parties agree. There are certain expansions that can be requested to the standard possession order in Texas, resulting in an extended possession order. Below you will find the details of a standard possession order.
Standard possession order
When parents are granted joint custody, the court requires a possession order. Parents with joint custody can agree to any schedule that works for both of them. If they can’t agree, then the court will usually order them to follow the Standard Possession Order (SPO). The terms of the basic SPO allows the noncustodial parent to have possession of the child a couple of hours every Thursday night; on the first, third and fifth weekends of each month from Friday afternoon when the child is dismissed from school (or 6PM) until the following Monday morning; on alternating holidays, and at least one month in the summer to be used on two separate occasions. The SPO tells the parents where the exchanges of the child will take place (generally at the managing conservator’s place of residence), and where the child will spend the holidays. The court does not have to follow the SPO if a child is under three years old or if the SPO is not in the best interest of the child.
Holidays under the SPO:
The possessory conservator shall have possession of the child in even-numbered years beginning at 6 p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school for the Christmas school vacation and ending at noon on December 28, and the managing conservator shall have possession for the same period in odd-numbered years
The possessory conservator shall have possession of the child in odd-numbered years, beginning at 6 p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school before Thanksgiving and ending at 6 p.m. on the following Sunday, and the managing conservator shall have possession for the same period in even-numbered years
The parent not otherwise entitled under this standard possession order to present possession of a child on the child’s birthday shall have possession of the child beginning at 6 p.m. and ending at 8 p.m. on that day, provided that the parent picks up the child from the residence of the conservator entitled to possession and returns the child to that same place.
The father shall have possession of the child beginning at 6 p.m. on the Friday preceding Father’s Day and ending on Father’s Day at 6 p.m.
The mother shall have possession of the child beginning at 6 p.m. on the Friday preceding Mother’s Day and ending on Mother’s Day at 6 p.m.
What are your rights and duties when the child is in your possession?
Now, that we have determined each parent will have their own allotted time to spend with the child(ren) there are duties and rights that the parents have when the children are in their custody. These rights include, the duty of care, control, protection, and reasonable discipline of the children; the duty to support the children, including providing the children with clothing, food, shelter, and medical and dental care not involving an invasive procedure; the right to consent for the children to medical and dental care not involving an invasive procedure; and the right to direct the moral and religious training of the children.
If you have any questions regarding the standard possession order and need a custody attorney in Spring, TX, North Houston, Woodlands, Klein, Tomball, Cypress, FM 1960, Galveston, and surrounding areas, call the A.T. Law Firm for a free consultation. We also travel to different counties including but not limited to Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Ford Bend County, Waller County, and Brazoria County. Contact the A.T. Law Office to set up a free consultation.