One Size Does Not Fit All: Possession for Children Under Three Part 2

As we know from my blog from last week, courts in Texas have not adopted a standard possession schedule for children under three years of age. Instead, possession will be determined on a case-by-case basis using the factors listed in Texas Family Code as a guide. What this means is that you (or your lawyer) will have to advocate for the possession schedule that you believe to be in your child’s best interest.

One example of a possession schedule commonly used for children under the age of three provides step ups in possession time for the non-primary parent (the parent without the right to designate the child’s primary residence) as the child gets older and works its way up to the Standard Possession Order by the time the child is three years old:

  • Children Under Six Months of Age:

Weekdays: On Wednesdays and Fridays of each week from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. that same day.

Sundays: On Sundays of each week from 4:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. that same day.

Alternative Times: For three periods of two hours each during any seven-day period, with no more than two days between periods of possession whenever possible.

  • Children Between Six Months & Eighteen Months of Age:

Weekdays: On Wednesdays and Fridays of each week from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. that same day.

Sundays: On Sundays of each week from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. that same day.

Christmas: From Noon until 4:00 p.m. on Christmas Day each year.

Thanksgiving: From Noon until 4:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day each year.

Birthday: From 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. on the child’s birthday each year.

Alternative Times: For two periods of two hours each and one four hour period during any seven-day period, with no more than two days between periods of possession whenever possible.

  • Children Between Eighteen Months and Three Years of Age:

Weekdays On Wednesdays and Fridays of each week from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. that same day.

Sundays: On Sundays of each week from Noon until 6:00 p.m. that same day.

Christmas: In odd-numbered years from Noon until 6:00 p.m. on December 26th of each year. In even-numbered years from Noon until 6:00 p.m. on December 25th of each year.

Thanksgiving: In odd numbered years from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day each year.

Birthday: From 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. on the child’s birthday of each year.

Alternative Times: For two periods of two hours each and one six hour period during any seven-day period, with no more than two days between periods of possession whenever possible.

  • Children Three Years of Age and Older:

Standard Possession Order.

Since possession schedules for children under three depend on so many factors, there is a lot of room for variation. Recently, John Zervopoulos. Ph.D., J.D., ABPP, told me about a booklet of possession schedule options for children of all ages that many courts in Arizona use called Model Parenting Time Plans for Parent/Child Access. It was developed by a statewide committee of judicial officers, mental health professionals, and attorney in that state and provides options for possession with children under three.

Categories