Friday, September 28, 2007

FAQ regarding Divorce # 12: How does the "Standard Possession Schedule" work?

Over the years, the Texas Legislature has looked at and repeatedly refined what we now refer to as the "Standard Possession Schedule." The reason we have a very detailed schedule is simple -- many parents cannot agree as to the best schedule for their children. Therefore, the Texas Legislature has stepped in to set out its own schedule.
The so-called “Standard" Schedule usually gives the conservator/parent that does not have the right to designate the primary residence of the child (in a Joint Conservatorship) or the Possessory Conservator in all other situations, the right of possession and access to the child on the first, third and fifth weekends (when there is one) of every month. The Standard Schedule attempts to make an even distribution (or as close to even that it can) of each and every minute of the child’s life between the respective parents; this includes all major holidays, the child’s birthday, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, spring break, extended summer visits, and many, many other situations. The Standard Schedule also sets out who will pick up and who will drop off the child, and where and how this exchange of possession will occur. Although this is a daunting task, under most situations, the Standard Schedule does an excellent job of allocating the child’s time with each parent in a fair and equitable manner.
The danger in departing from the Standard Schedule (under most situations) is that lawyers cannot always contemplate all of the situations that can arise in the future, which may lead to future confusion or disagreements between the conservators. This is not to say that the Standard Schedule is what is best for your child; we recognize that there are situations where the Standard Schedule is partially or completely inappropriate. However, you should understand that the “split” schedules that many conservators attempt can be difficult on a child who must repeatedly pack up and go to another house, and can lead to the child essentially living out of a suitcase. Such situations are usually difficult – even for adults – and can be particularly disruptive for a child.