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Child Custody, Divorce, & Standard Possession Forms

On behalf of Charles Hardy at Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, L.L.P.


Some of the nastiest divorces we hear about in the news are the ones involving a child custody dispute, but you don’t need to go into a divorce believing friction and a lengthy court battle is the norm. For most parents, the idea of being separated from their minor children is gut wrenching and as a result, the law dealing with child custody is long and detailed. Over many years of child custody in the courts, the law has developed to take into consideration almost every possible scenario relating to children involved in a divorce. So although the legal code is long, it is not necessarily complicated. In fact, almost any question you may have regarding child custody is addressed in the law, meaning that you, your family law attorney and your spouse have less to debate in court, because the rules, rights and responsibilities are clearly laid out.

One of the ways that the Texas family law code makes it easy on parents is by having a “standard possession order” in writing that can be applied to a child custody case where both parents have some form of custody. A standard possession order is the wording in the law that details how the child’s time can be split between the parents. A standard possession order might be used in child custody cases where the parents cannot agree on the visitation terms or when the custody plan devised by the parents is rejected by the court, or when the parent’s want to leave it to the court to decide on a custody agreement.

It is important to note that any decision a judge makes involving child custody will put the child’s welfare at the heart of the decision. As a result, a judge may deviate from the standard possession order in a child custody case if they feel it is in the best interest of the child.

The terms of a standard possession order are slightly different depending on what category you fit into. This law has provisions for:

  • Parents in a child custody case residing less than 100 miles apart.
  • Parents in a child custody case residing more than 100 miles apart.

And there are further terms that are not covered and affected by these two categories. These include rules about where children are to be picked up and dropped off at the beginning and end of periods of possession. It also clarifies that weekend possession is extended by a public holiday. The law also sets out rules for possession in a child custody arrangement where one or both parents are deployed for military service. These are just a few of the variations that are covered in the Texas code.

When you choose a San Antonio family law attorney to help you with your divorce and child custody case, ask them about the standard possession order that is laid out in the Texas family law code. You might consider asking your attorney to print you a copy of the relevant sections and read through it yourself. It is long and detailed, but not terribly hard to understand. Reading through the provisions and then seeking clarification from your attorney would be a good way to understand what you should be likely to expect in terms of how much contact you will have with your child after the child custody agreement is finalized.

Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, L.L.P. 12000 Huebner Rd #200 San Antonio, TX 78230 Telephone: (210) 349-9933 Fax: (210) 349-9988
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