When divorcing parents in Texas cannot agree to a child custody arrangement, the court will impose and enforce the Texas Standard Possession Order calendar. The Standard Possession Order is designed for children ages three and older and is presumed to provide reasonable minimum parenting times that are in the best interest of the child.
There are three versions of the 2023 Texas Standard Possession Order calendar based on how far apart the parents live. If the standard possession order is not workable or is inappropriate, or if both parents agree that a different schedule works better for their needs, the court can order a different parenting time schedule.
A child custody lawyer with Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey, P.C. in Austin, TX, can help you modify the standard possession order to fit your family’s needs and present your proposed alternate calendar in court, or we can help you petition the court to enforce its custody and visitation order.
Is It Possible To Change the 2023 Texas Custody Schedule?
The Texas Standard Possession Order calendar is a template that can be changed if the proposed modification is presented before the court hands down its child custody order. When the court issues a standard possession order, it may state that the parties will have possession of the child at times mutually agreed to in advance.
At Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey, we believe that child custody arrangements are best when they are developed in a collaborative effort of both parents working with each other. At the same time, we are well aware that the issues that have led a couple to divorce can become obstacles to establishing child custody arrangements.
When you have engaged a child custody attorney from Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey, P.C., we can:
- Evaluate what is required of a custody schedule to serve the best interests of your child and meet the needs and availability of each parent
- Assess the fundamental differences that are keeping you and your child’s other parent from reaching an agreement
- Draft a co-parenting plan that sets reasonable expectations and is manageable and enforceable
- Seek to negotiate a fair child custody schedule with your child’s other parent that meets your child’s needs before judicial intervention becomes necessary
- Advocate aggressively on behalf of you and your child if your case requires a judge’s intervention.
If a possession order is in place, you may petition the court to modify it if changes in your life or your child’s life make it impossible to fulfill the requirements of the order or if the order no longer serves your child’s best interests. You must file a modification lawsuit, which your ex-spouse will have the right to answer and oppose.
In most cases, you must wait a year before requesting that the court change your custody order. You can file a modification case to change primary custody within one year of the current custody order only if you can demonstrate to the court that:
- The person with primary custody is asking for or agrees to the change or
- The child’s present environment may endanger their physical health or significantly harm their emotional development or
- The person with primary custody has allowed someone else to have primary care and possession of the child for at least six months.
The third factor does not apply if the person with primary custody is on active-duty military deployment. The court cannot permanently change custody because a military parent has been deployed. However, you can ask the court to change custody during the deployment temporarily. By law, the court must provide temporary custody to the person who has visitation rights under the current order, which is typically the other parent.
If your ex will not agree to an Order Modifying the Parent-Child Relationship, you will have to present information justifying the change to a judge, who will also hear your ex’s arguments before making a decision. If you are challenged, you will fare better in court if an experienced child custody lawyer represents you and has helped draft your petition.
What If a Parent Doesn’t Stick to the Custody Schedule?
There may be times when your ex-spouse fails to deliver your child to you on time or meet other requirements of your custody order. If a pattern of non-compliance with the order develops or an egregious incident occurs – such as your ex absconding with your child – you can petition the court to enforce the court order.
A Motion to Enforce must explain how the other party has failed to comply with the standard possession order and the relief you’re requesting. To persuade the court to act, you will need witness testimony or other documentation of your ex’s multiple violations, including the date, time, and place of each failure to comply with the order.
You may ask the court to provide such relief as:
- Make-up visitation to compensate you for the times when the other parent denied you access to your child
- Holding your ex in contempt, which may include appropriate jail sentences for each criminal contempt violation for up to 18 months
- Holding your ex in contempt but suspending a jail sentence in favor of requiring your ex to:
- Strictly and fully comply with the visitation order
- Surrender the child for court-ordered make-up visits
- Post a reasonable bond
- Attend the Cooperative Parenting Program
- Be placed on community supervision to monitor his/her compliance with the terms of the court order.
Contact a Texas Child Custody Lawyer in Austin
If you are headed to divorce and will need to set up a child custody and visitation schedule or you have a child custody order your ex-spouse is violating, the legal team at Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey, P.C., can help you. Our Austin child custody lawyers prefer a collaborative atmosphere, but we are ready to advocate aggressively on your behalf and what is in your child’s best interests.
Let us take the stress of dealing with an uncooperative ex-spouse off your shoulders and pursue a legal strategy to make things right for you and your child. Contact us at (512) 476-4873 or fill out our online form today to schedule a risk-free case evaluation.