Expanded Possession Order is the new default
Beginning September 1, 2021, if parents live 50 miles or less apart from one another non-custodial parents will enjoy a rebuttable presumption that an expanded standard possession order is in the best interest of the child. This will increase the time spent between non-custodial parents and their from approximately 25% to approximately 35% of the time.
What is the Standard Possession Order and Expanded Possession Order?
The Standard possession order allows children to spend time with their non-custodial parent’s according to the following:
- Thursday evenings during the school year from 6:00 pm-8:00 pm;
- 1st, 3rd and 5th weekends from 6:00 pm on Fridays to 6:00 pm on Sundays;
- Every other Spring Break, Thanksgiving and Christmas Break;
- 31 days in the summer;
- Other minor variations on birthdays, mothers day, father days, school holidays…
The main difference with the standard possession order is during the weekday possessions. Specifically,
- Possession will be from Thursday when school releases until Friday When School resumes;
- 1st, 3rd and 5th weekends from when school releases on Fridays to when school resumes on Monday
- Other differences in drop off/ pick up times on holidays and breaks
Who does the presumption for additional possession time not apply to?
The presumption for the expanded standard possession order will vanish if a parent cannot exercise any of the additional time provided in the expanded standard possession order. For instance, if a non-custodial parent cannot get his child to school Monday morning, that parent is only entitled to the presumption of the regular standard possession order. This is definitely a drawback of the bill.
A step in the right direction
Texas has moved from the dark ages when mothers were presumed to be better parents than fathers, to the middle ages when it was presumed that the minimal amount of time provided by the standard possession order was in the best interest of children and now we have arrived to a point where we are a little closer to a realization that equal possession time is in the best interest of children. Under the new expanded standard possession order, if the non-custodial parent is allowed to spend one more night a week with their children the children will be blessed with the benefits of equal time with both parents. The children’s rights and father’s rights advocates in Texas have brought us all this way against the resistance of special interest groups consisting mostly of family law attorneys and they won’t stop until Texas truly has a presumption for equal possession. Let’s hope that day is not too far off.
Please take the time to reach out to Senator Brian Hughes and tell him thank you for pushing this wonderful bill through.