Thomas P. Carnes
(830) 997-7790 968 Braeutigam Road
Fredericksburg, Texas 78624

Thomas P. Carnes, A Civil Trial Lawyer Serving the Texas Hill Country
Practice Areas

Family Law

Child Issues - Possession

There is no longer a “winner take all” system when it comes to possession, and there has not been in years. The Texas legislature has provided, and courts have more or less felt constrained by, what is called the Standard Possession Order for children over three years old. Stated simply, the non-custodial parent living within 100 miles of the child will have possession on the weekends beginning on the first, third and fifth Fridays of each month and ending on the on the following Sunday. These weekends can be extended in several ways, through elections. First of all, midweek possession is now every Thursday, and can be extended to overnight. This, in essence, means that for most non-custodial parents living within 100 miles of the other parent, weekends begin on Thursday instead of Friday. In addition, Monday and Friday holiday provisions are now generally included in most decrees, allowing for the non-custodial parent to extend holiday weekends until the evening of a Monday holiday. Lastly, many parents are opting to pick up and return at school, rather than one-another’s residences, with pickups on the afternoon that possession begins and return to school when school resumes. This is, in practice, helpful to the non-custodial parent seeking to remain involved in a child’s schooling and extracurricular activities.

Generally, courts feel somewhat constrained about entering into a Standard Possession Order with regard to a child under three years of age. The legislature has agreed, and has provided guidance in this regard. The more active both parents are in the young child’s life, the more likely they are to immediately slip into a possession scheme that mirrors the Standard Possession Order. As you might have ascertained, there are many different ways to approach possession of children under three. There is no standard solution, and there is more deviation in results between parents and courts in dealing with children under three.

Weekends for non-custodial parents living more than 100 miles from the other parent are, not surprisingly, more flexible than for those under 100 miles. Beginning a non-holiday weekend on Thursday is generally not practicable. The same is true midweek possession when the parent does not have weekend possession. As to the number of weekends, they can be the same as within 100 miles (the weekends beginning with the first, third, and fifth Friday of each month) or a parent may designate one weekend per month. The choice is usually an economic one, based on distance. Obviously, the closer a non-custodial parent lives to the other parent, the more actively he or she can be involved in a child’s life.

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