Custody

Visitation – What is the Texas Standard Possession Order?

The Standard Possession Order (SPO) is a default visitation schedule defined by the Texas Family Code that is used in the vast majority of Texas divorce cases involving children. It is extremely detailed and lengthy and is one of the main reasons that divorce decrees in cases with children are usually 30 to 40 pages long. The Standard Possession Order statute is Texas Family Code Section 153.3101 through 153.317.

Every order has its own particular provisions, so please refer to the specifics of your own order for guidance if you have one. Also note that all of the terms are subject to alteration, either by negotiation or court order. This article is designed to give a brief overview of the statute and how its key provisions work when the standard language is used without tweaking. Here are some of the key provisions Continue reading

What is “Standard” Visitation Anyway?

Texas divorce lawyers frequently refer to the “SPO” which is short for the Texas Standard Possession Order.  This statute defines a default visitation schedule that is presumed to be in the child’s best interest.  While this presumption is rebuttable under certain circumstances, my guess is that the Standard Possession Order (or some slightly modified version of it) is the visitation schedule in 90% or more of the divorce cases in Texas.

The statutory schedule is very long and detailed.  You can view the actual statute here.  In this article I will highlight Continue reading

What is the Best Interest of the Child Custody Standard?

The following is a guest post on behalf of the Cantor Law Group, a prominent Phoenix divorce firm.

When it comes to determining the custody of a child in a custody proceeding, the courts will typically use the best interests of the child doctrine. This is often used when a married couple chooses to divorce there are one or more children involved or if a child has been born outside of marriage. Using this concept, the court will determine who the child lives with, how much contact the child will have with each parent and whether child support is granted to one of the parents. Continue reading

Can a Child Age Twelve Decide Which Parent to Live With?

I have been asked this question more times than I can count during my career.  More often, it is stated to me as fact, as in “well my child is over twelve, so she gets to decide who she wants to live with.” This belief is based on a misinterpretation of a very real Texas Family Code statute concerning the wishes of a child twelve or older.

Section 153.009

Here is what Texas Family Code Section 153.009 says Continue reading