The Texas Standard Possession Order
In Texas, we have the Standard Possession Schedule, passed down to us by
our Austin parenting experts, the Texas Legislature. It generally provides
for the “non-primary” parent to have possession of the children
alternating weekends, some summer time, and split the holidays. So, the
child lives primarily with one parent and “visits” (yes, we
still use that word in Texas divorces) with the other parent. Studies
show this arrangement may not be the best thing for kids who are unwittingly
subject to the parents’ divorce.
A new study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health (Fifty Moves a Year: Is there an association between joint physical custody
and psychosomatic problems in children?) suggests that children are mentally healthiest when they are able to split
their time with both divorced parents. Children who lived primarily with
one parent had higher rates of sleep problems, difficulty concentrating,
loss of appetite, headaches, tension, and sadness. On the other hand,
children who lived for periods of time with both parents reported significantly
So, stability in housing was less of a factor for these children than the
stability of their relationships with both parents.
The study also emphasized that kids become the most stressed out by the
level of angry fighting between parents. It is not the parental separation
or the divorce itself that causes kids stress. It’s the conflict
and how the parents manage the conflict.
NOTE: The Texas Legislature has pending before it currently a
HB 2363 that proposes to make “equal time” the standard in Texas instead
of the Standard Possession Schedule. This bill remains in committee, so
it seems unlikely that it will make it through before the end of the month,
but it is one to watch.
Hat tip to Beth Greenfield’s article on Yahoo
The Divorce Custody Arrangement that Benefits Kids the Most.