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What is a Standard Possession Order?

What is a Standard Possession Order?

  Often times, one of the main issues of contention in a divorce action, is custody and possession or access (visitation) of any minor children of the marriage.  When discussing possession and access (visitation), a common term used by the Courts and attorneys is “SPO.”  “SPO” is an acronym for Standard Possession Order.  The Texas Legislature included this standardized possession and access schedule in the Texas Family Code.  When drafting this code section, the Texas Legislature was looking to promote consistency for parents and children, taking into consideration both the child’s school year schedule and the child’s need to spend as much time as possible with both parents.

Usually when parents divorce, one parent will be designated the “primary” parent.  That primary parent will have the right to determine the residence of the child within a particular county, within particular counties, or within a particular state.  The primary parent will also have the right to receive child support, for the benefit of the child, from the nonprimary parent.  The Texas Family Code has Standard Possession Order provisions if the parents reside within 100 miles of each other and provisions if the parents reside more than 100 miles from each other.  If the parents live within 100 miles of each other, the Standard Possession Order, in short, includes the following visitation for the nonprimary parent:

  • 1st, 3rd, 5th weekends of each month, beginning at 6 pm on Friday and ending at 6 pm on Sundays;
  • Every Thursday evening during the minor child’s school year;
  • 30 days in the summer to be chosen by the nonprimary parent;
  • The weekend of Mother’s Day (if the nonprimary parent is mom) or Father’s Day (if the nonprimary parent is dad);
  • Allotted time on the minor child’s birthday if the child’s birthday does not already fall on a weekend or day designated for the nonprimary parent;
  • Holidays and spring breaks are split between the parents or are alternated between the parents each calendar year.

 

If the parents of the minor child reside more than 100 miles from each other, the Standard Possession Order, in short, includes the following visitation for the nonprimary parent:

  • 1st, 3rd, 5th weekends of each month, beginning at 6 pm on Friday and ending at 6 pm on Sundays, or one weekend a month to be chosen by the nonprimary parent each month;
  • 42 days in the summer to be chosen by the nonprimary parent;
  • The weekend of Mother’s Day (if the nonprimary parent is mom) or Father’s Day (if the nonprimary parent is dad);
  • Allotted time on the child’s birthday if the child’s birthday does not already fall on a weekend or day designated for the nonprimary parent;
  • Holidays are split between the parents, but the nonprimary parent gets every spring break vacation of the minor child.

 

What if an SPO doesn’t work for me or my child?
            Although the Courts presume that a Standard Possession Order is in the best interest of minor children who are involved in a divorce, the Court does consider evidence that other visitation schedules would be in the children’s best interest.  If both parents have been equally involved with the children, some visitation schedules can be comprised of alternating weeks with each parent.  There are many other variations of schedules that can be considered depending on specific circumstances or situations of the parents and children.  Additionally, parents can agree on a customized visitation schedule if the parents have shown an ability to work together.

What if my child is too young to spend a weekend away from me?
            Courts realize that some children may be too young to be shifted from household to household, especially if the child is still within their tender years.  If your child is under the age of three or has not yet begun school, the Courts will consider a schedule where both parents have frequent and consistent contact with their children.  As San Antonio attorneys, we can assist you in creating a schedule that will allow you to create a strong bond between you and your child even when you and your spouse have decided to divorce during the child’s tender years.

Please remember that these guidelines do not work for everyone.  If your situation is unique, we can help you to create a schedule to fit you and your child’s needs.  As San Antonio attorneys, we will strive to help you figure out a schedule that maximizes your time with your child and creates a schedule that is right for you and your family.

This article is intended for general information only and is not intended to constitute legal advice.  The information and materials you obtain on this website may not be applicable to your specific situation or set of facts.  As San Antonio Divorce attorneys, we are prepared to assist you with your case.   Please call us for a free initial consult.

HRC Law Firm in San Antonio, TX
HRC Law Firm in San Antonio, TX
Before becoming attorneys, our professional spent years serving in the United States Army and is a veteran of both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Their experience in the Army taught him the importance of a strong work ethic and attention to detail. Our attorneys understand the needs of his clients, and can tailor a litigation plan that both meets his client’s needs and their financial situations and goals. Our attorneys have spent much of the last five years in the Courtroom, successfully advocating for the rights his clients have as parents, spouses and individuals who are facing challenging situations.

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