In previous posts I have discussed the various schedules that occur in a Texas standard possession order. For review we have covered:
- Expanded standard visitation – http://chrislawyerblog.com/2010/07/expanded-standard-visitation-in-texas/
- Summer Visitation – http://chrislawyerblog.com/2010/05/summer-visitation-in-texas/
- Holidays – http://chrislawyerblog.com/2010/04/texas-standard-possession-order-de-mystified-holiday-possessions/
- Summers – http://chrislawyerblog.com/2010/03/texas-standard-possession-order-de-mystified-summer-possession/
- Thursdays – http://chrislawyerblog.com/2010/03/texas-standard-possession-order-de-mystified-thursday-possession/ and
- Weekends – http://chrislawyerblog.com/2010/03/texas-standard-possession-order-de-mystified-weekend-possessions/
There have been other discussions on Texas standard visitation which you can access via “visitation” on the tags below.
To finalize the discussion I wanted to cover some of the other issues that arise in Texas standard visitation.
One of the first paragraphs in a standard possession order states that the parties are free to agree on any possession order they like, but absent agreement it will be a standard possession order. This is set out in §153.311 of the Texas Family Code. This means that standard visitation is just a fall back for when the parties cannot mutually agree on visitation. This is the legislatures way of trying to get the parents to work things out.
General Terms and Conditions
These are set out in §153.316 of the Texas Family Code. It covers:
- Where the child should be dropped off at the beginning of the non-custodial or visiting parent’s possession. This can be at the home of the custodial parent, at the home of the visiting parent, or some other location like the child’s school or a police station. Check your order to determine where this is.
- If the possession is to begin at the time the child’s school is dismissed, then the child is surrendered at the school at the end of the school day.
- Where the child should be picked up at the end of the non-custodial parent or visiting parent’s possession. This will typically be the opposite of the place in number 1., but can be at any of the three. Check your order. NOTE: All transfers are to take place at these location. If no agreement has been made to modify these provisions, this is where you must pick up and drop off.
- If the possession ends when school resumes, the visiting parent will return the child to school at the beginning of the school day.
- Each party is supposed to return the child with the clothes and items that they brought. You cannot imagine what a big issue this can become, or maybe you can. The provision is simple…what the child comes with, the child goes home with. Do the clothes have to be washed? No, it does not say that. You simply must return those items with the child.
- Each party can designate a competent adult to deliver the child. This means that a parent can pick an adult to transfer the child pursuant to numbers 1. and 2. above. If your order does not specifically restrict someone, then they can choose any competent adult. If you disagree with the adult’s competence, you will have to go to court. This provision is for pick up and drop off only. This provision does not mean that the parent can designate a person to visit with the child while the visiting parent is not there. Visitations are set up for the parents. However, there are circumstances where a parent can allow others to visit with the child (grandparents, new wife and family, etc…) This may be the subject of another post.
- Each parent shall give notice to the other parent in possession of the child if they will be unable to exercise visitation of the child. This notice should be in writing if possible. This is probably the most ignored provision of a standard possession order in Texas. You shouldn’t ignore it because if it happens enough (no notice given for missed possessions) it can be grounds to take away visitation rights.
- Send it in writing as soon as possible. This can include an email.
- If possessions begin or end at school, and the parent will not be able to get the child from or to school, you must notify the other parent so that proper arrangements can be made. Nothing will get you in trouble faster with the court than a child missing school.
The above is a general summary of some of the additional rules in a standard possession order in Texas. My comments are not all inclusive and there are many fact scenarios that I did not cover. If you are having problems with any of these, contact a local attorney and discuss it with them.