If you have children and are filing for divorce, custody and visitation
are two issues you and your spouse will have to work through. Texas courts
use the terms “possession” and “access” to refer
to visitation and custody matters. “Possession” of your child
refers to any time you can see your child in person, while “access”
refers to the time you interact with your child by phone, email, or text
message. During a divorce, most visitation orders will include either
a standard possession order (SPO), an expanded standard possession order
(E-SPO), or an arrangement both spouses come up with on their own. In
this blog, our Katy divorce attorney explains the difference between SPOs,
E-SPOs, custom orders.
Standard Possession Orders
The main purpose of a standard possession order is to officially set each
parent’s visitation and custody schedule and to ensure that it is
legally binding. An SPO is sometimes explained as the “default”
order in Texas. The SPO, outlined in the Texas Family Code, states where
the exchange of the child will take place, where he or she will spend
the holidays, and any special rules for situations where the parents live
more than 100 miles apart. In a typical SPO, the child will spend the
first, third, and fifth weekend of each month, plus one weekday evening
with the noncustodial parent during the regular school year.
Expanded Standard Possession Orders
An expanded standard possession order provides the non-custodial parent
with additional time with their child. An expanded standard possession
order may be chosen at the election of the noncustodial parent (if the
judge order that a standard possession order is appropriate). The E-SPO
is very similar to a standard SPO, with just a few adjustments –
the non-custodial parent’s time on weekdays and weekends is changed
to ensure that the time the non-custodial parent has with the child is
extended to meet the child’s needs. Importantly, the noncustodial
parent gets an extra overnight visit on Thursdays and does not need to
return possession of the child to the custodial parent during the school
year until the Monday following his or her regular weekend possession.
Under Texas Law, SPOs and E-SPOs are usually used as a default option for
spouses who cannot or will not agree to their own arrangement. Because
of this, spouses often feel as though these orders rely on the stereotype
that one parent excels in nurturing while the other is responsible for
being the breadwinner. Because this isn’t a situation that applies
to all spouses, many opt for arranging their own custom custody and visitation
order. Having a custom arrangement can better accommodate parents’
work schedules, distance between the parents, and the needs of the child.
Our Katy divorce lawyers have the experience and skill to successfully
lead clients towards a fair child custody arrangement.
Call (832) 781-0320 to discuss your case today.