Monday, October 1, 2012

School Days: How Does “School” Affect My Texas Possession Schedule?

Most Standard Possession Orders (SPO) in Texas make specific reference to weekends extended by student holidays and teacher in-service days, or set the beginning and end of periods of possession by a parent at the time that “school” begins or ends.  But which “school” calendar controls these matters?

Unless defined differently in the specific possession order or divorce decree, “school” in a Texas SPO means either:

  1. the primary or secondary school in which the child is enrolled, or  
  2. if the child is not enrolled in school, the public school district in which the child primarily resides.

So, for children who are too young to attend school, parents should refer to the calendar for the school district in which the child would attend public school based on his or her primary residence (as established by the parent with the exclusive right to designate the child’s primary residence). 

For children attending private school, or who go to a school outside their “regular” district, parents should follow the calendar of the school in which their child is actually enrolled.

However, when all else fails, parents should remember that they can agree upon a different definition of “school,” and they can always agree to alter the standard possession schedule so that it makes practical sense for themselves and their child. Such agreements should be documented in writing, and signed by both parents to avoid any future disagreements or confusion.