The Basic Starting Point
Determining custody can be an emotional process, especially for a parent who does not have possessory conservatorship. Understandably, both parents want to spend as much time with their child as possible, as they both have the right to do so. Fortunately, Texas law provides a guideline for a parent without possession of a child to have specific visitation rights (or parenting time, as it is known in Texas). Here is what you should know about the Standard Possession Order (SPO).
What It Is
The SPO was designed to provide a noncustodial parent with designated parenting time as well as to protect the best interests of the child in question. Many people use the SPO as a starting point for parenting time negotiations or to work out unique parenting agreements based on individual circumstances.
Typically, the SPO is used when determining the conservatorship of a child over the age of 3, but the basic principles can be used when the case involves a child younger than 3. In addition, there is an SPO for conservatorship cases involving parents who live within 100 miles of their child as well as those who are outside that radius.
Within 100 Miles
The following tenets are included in the SPO for parents that live within 100 miles of their child:
Weekends alternate between parents on the first, third, and fifth Friday of each month. Weekends begin at 6:00 pm on Friday and end the following Sunday at 6:00 pm.
The noncustodial parent can have back-to-back weekends.
Thursday visitation is granted from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm during the school year.
Holidays should alternate between parents. For example, if one parent is granted Thanksgiving, the other parent should have Christmas or an equivalent holiday.
The child is to be picked up and dropped off from their place of residence unless the parents agree upon a different location.
The child is to be returned with all of their belongings that were brought with them.
The noncustodial parent is entitled to 30 days of parenting time during summer vacation.
The child alternates which parent they spend spring break with each year. The noncustodial parent typically receives even-numbered years, and the custodial parent has the child during odd-numbered years.
For parents that live outside of the 100-mile radius from their child, additional considerations such as travel time and extended summer and spring break time.
Enlist the Help of a Texas Custody Attorney
When working out a parenting plan, it is important to have a custody attorney present to negotiate on your behalf and to help you work toward the best possible outcome. At Verner Brumley Mueller Parker, we know how important time with your child is, which is why we want to fight for you to have that time.
To schedule a consultation, call us at (214) 225-6766 or visit us online.