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Taking the mystery out of custody arrangements

The Standard Possession Order

Getting a divorce and agreeing on custody arrangements can be intimidating for most people. It can be an emotionally charged situation where hurt feelings come more into play then what is best for the children or for the parties involved.

There are a few people who can communicate with one another and make arrangements for custody that fit their lives and their children’s needs. Unfortunately, most people come to an attorney’s office because they are unable to come to any agreements.

This is where the attorney and the Court system come into play. If agreements cannot be made, then the parties can look at the standard possession order as what most likely will become their arrangement. The standard possession order sets up one parent as the custodial parent who has the right to set the child’s residence and spends more time with the child. The possessory custodial parent is the person who gets “visitation” with the child. Sometimes the custodial parent is the mother, sometimes it is not. There is no guarantee who will be the custodial parent. The court use many factors in deciding this including who the primary caretaker of the child is. After the custodial parent has been chosen, the other parent is given a visitation schedule.

The standard possession order give the parent (possessory conservator) who has visitation a minimum standard that they should be able to see the child. Nothing keeps the parties from making agreements for other visitation or additional time. The standard possession order is the first, third, and fifth weekends of the month (starting on Friday), Thursdays while school is in session and extended summer and winter breaks. There are some variations within the schedule such as having the pick up and drop off times change but none of the variations give significant extra time.

Nothing written above should be construed as legal advice and it is in a client’s best interest to have an attorney review their case with them and help them decide how to pursue their case. The court can be a daunting place and when it comes to your future and your child’s future, an attorney will be the best person to advise you.

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