Visitation During Temporary Orders in Austin, Texas Divorce Cases

Visitation During Temporary OrdersParents often ask what will visitation look like during temporary orders, the time between a divorce case is filed and when the divorce is finalized.  At temporary orders parties can establish any schedule for each parent’s periods of possession of the children that fits their needs and those of the children. In fact, Courts in Austin, Texas divorce cases prefer for parents to arrange periods of possession by agreement.   However, all temporary orders must include a visitation schedule for the children that will control if the parties cannot agree in the future. If the parties are unable to agree to a possession schedule, the presumption in Texas is that a Court should order what is called the “Standard Possession Order.”

In Texas the Standard Possession Schedule is based on the law. There is a presumption that the Court will order a Standard Possession Schedule in all cases involving a child over the age of three. Under the age of three there is no set possession schedule and the Court is ordered to make a possession schedule for the child considering numerous factors.

For the purpose of this blog, we will look into the Standard Possession Schedule in further depth. The Standard Possession Schedule is broken down into two schedules, one when the parents live within 100 miles of each other and another if they live more than 100 miles apart.

If the divorcing parties live within 100 miles of each other, the standard possession schedule provides for possession by the parent with whom the children do not primarily reside beginning at 6:00 p.m. or when school is dismissed on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekends of each month and ending at 6:00 p.m. on the following Sunday or when school resumes the following Monday; a mid-week visit on Thursdays during the school year each week from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. (or from the time school lets out until the time school resumes on the following day); alternating Thanksgiving and Spring Break holidays; part of the Christmas break depending on the year, using noon on December 28 as the exchange time, and thirty days during the summer break.

If the parents live farther than 100 miles away, the weekend and weekday periods may be modified to include one weekend visit per month or keep the 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekends at the election of the person receiving the visitation.  Due to the distance, the mid-week periods are no longer practical and are therefore not included. Also, the parent who does not have primary possession of the child has visitation during all Spring Breaks and forty-two days during the summer.

Occasionally, one parent believes that the other’s time with the children should be reduced to less than the standard possession order either because the children are very young or because one parent doesn’t trust the other to take proper care of the children. Additionally, parents often believe that each parent should have more time with the child than may be set out in a standard possession schedule.

It is the burden of the parent seeking any variance from the standard possession schedule to present evidence to the court to convince the Judge why their version of a possession schedule is in their child’s best interest.

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