This is the second installment in this series. We previously discussed the allocation of parental rights, in Part 1. If you have not read that one already, or if you have, but need a refresher, please check-out that post.

Today, we will discuss the ways that possession of a child may be allocated between parents.[1] The presumption is that one parent should have “Standard Possession” of the child(ren) who are 3 years of age, or older; and, that the other parent should have possession during the balance of the time.[2] Many of us are already familiar with the concept of parents sharing weekend possession, with Mom having one weekend, and Dad having the next one.[3] Similarly, it is fairly common for folks to be familiar with the idea of splitting the Summer between the two parents. What may be unknown is the allocation of time on each child’s birthday; the allocation of holidays and Spring Break. All of those are covered by the Standard Possession Order.

But, what about when the child(ren) may not be safe, or properly taken care of, if they are with one parent for a weekend, or even, overnight? If sufficient evidence is presented to the court demonstrating that Standard Possession is NOT in the best interest of the child(ren), then the court can enter whatever possession times, terms, and conditions, that the court finds to be in the kiddos’ best interest. Sometimes, that will mean (as in the case of young children, or a parent who s unable to properly supervise a child during an extended period of time) that the parent’s possession periods will be shorter; perhaps, not overnight, for example. In other cases, such as when a parent is using illegal drugs, abusing alcohol in the possession of kids, or abusing and/or neglecting children, the possession may be supervised by someone, or some organization, appointed by the court.[4]

There are other terms that the court may impose on the visitation. The court may, e.g., require the parent to confirm that (s)he intends to actually use the allocated visitation period (this requirement may be imposed when a parent has routinely failed to use allocated visitation). Or, the court may require the parent to pass a drug test, or use an Intoxylizer device, or Sober Link service, to prove sobriety. If the child is unsafe in the presence of a person other than a relative (such as a girlfriend, boyfriend, or uncle), then the court may impose the condition that the children not be taken into, nor allowed to remain within the presence of that person.

The court is charged with making orders in the best interest of the children coming before it. It has broad discretion to craft such orders that will keep those children safe and properly cared for.

Until next time, keep loving those kiddos!


[1] Since I am licensed to practice law in Texas, that is the jurisdiction that I will discuss.

[2] The presumptions regarding Standard Possession recently changed. We will not discuss those changes in detail here, but it is discussed here.

[3] Technically, this is accurate during the eight (8) months of the year in which there are only four weekends. On those four (4) months per year having five (5) weekends, the parent having Standard Possession is awarded the fifth weekend.

[4] Ideally, the Supervisor would be a safe relative, so that the visitation is not awkward nor “weird” for the kids. If not, then a professional Child Supervisor, such as an off-duty Sheriff’s Deputy, may be hired to monitor the visits.

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