Creative Possession Schedules

Different careers and parenting styles might call for a Creative Possession Schedule for a divorced family. If a parent travels a lot for work, for example, as a pilot, it may not be appropriate to follow a Standard Possession Order. What if mom is a doctor and is on call, a 50/50 schedule would not be the right fit for her family. Sometimes parents have to get creative with possession schedules to benefit the whole family. The Standard Possession Order ("SPO") contained in the Texas Family Code was created by the Texas Legislature and is reputably presumed to be in the best interests of the family.  The SPO helps to navigate custody issues when parents cannot agree on their own arrangement. It primarily reflects a traditional family situation where one parent works full time and other parent provides the primary nurturing. The nurturer gets additional time with the children and it is assumed he/she is a full time homemaker. The working parent, who is also responsible for paying child support, is assumed to work Monday-Friday 9-5 and spends more time with the kid on weekends and far less time during the week when the children are in school. Today, when both parents are employed full time, and not just 9-5, it just isn't the right fit for many families. The truth is, with the help of a competent family law attorney, you can create a unique possession schedule that works for both parents and most importantly the kids. Some creative possession schedules may appear unusual for other families but work for yours.  Once negotiated between the parents and lawyers, a judge will make the final decision, "if the arrangement is in the best interest of the children." In most instances, if both parents are in agreement the judge will approve it. Alternative custody arrangements may have their own pitfalls too - what you worked out today might not work great in the future. Jobs change, kids' schedules change and people move. For example, a son's love of football might change to a love of ice hockey, with a completely different schedule and set of needs. A husband who traveled a lot for work might have gotten downsized or transitioned to a new local job and wants more time with the kids during the week. If this happens and the alternative custody schedule no longer works, you must go back to court to modify it. However, most orders involving children are subject to change in the event that there is a material and substantial change of circumstances, such as the situations described above. As with most co-parenting issues, custom possession schedules require the cooperation of both parents to be most successful. Therefore, the better the rapport between parents the more successful the possession schedule will be. As with most issues in a divorce and related family matters, effective communication is essential. Flexibility and open communication both encourage and assure effective parenting.

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