In a typical divorce situation, parents are awarded joint custody or Joint Managing Conservatorship. This means the rights and responsibilities concerning the children are shared between the two parents. In a joint custody arrangement, the children live with the custodial parent or Primary Joint Managing Conservator. They regularly visit the non-custodial parent or Managing Conservator. When a couple cannot work together to decide upon a visitation schedule, Texas courts will order a Standard Possession Order.
The Texas legislature recognized that the Standard Possession Order might not always be in the best interests of the children under the age of three. Therefore, courts have the freedom to order a temporary possession order that is appropriate under the circumstances. This does not mean the court will not issue the Standard Possession Order. It simply means that the court will weigh many factors when determining a possession order for a young child. The court may consider the following:
- How parenting responsibilities are currently handled
- How separation from either parent will affect the child
- Abilities of parents as caregivers
- Needs of the child
- Presence of other siblings during visitation
- Child’s need to develop strong connections with both parents
- Ability of the parents to work together for the best interests of the child
- Geographical distance between the parents
Child custody and visitation arrangements are some of the most difficult divorce issues to work out. Parents may have conflicting ideas concerning what is best for the child. In Texas, the courts have the latitude to look at the entire family situation. Then they can set up a temporary possession order that is in the best interests of a child under the age of three. As a San Marcos divorce lawyer at the Todd Law Firm, I have helped hundreds of clients secure the best possible outcome of their divorce and custody matters. If you need help with a family law matter, contact me, David Todd, at 512-472-7799. You may also download a free copy of my book The 5 Deadly Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Texas Divorce Case for more information.