POSSESSION AND ACCESS
POSSESSION AND ACCESS REFERS TO THE “VISITATION” THAT THE POSSESSORY CONSERVATOR WILL HAVE WITH THEIR CHILDREN
Possessory Conservator is the person that does not have the exclusive right to designate the residence of the children.
Specifically, possession refers to the right an individual has to possess the children (i.e. the person has the right to take the children, for a specific period of time).
Access is more limited than possession. Access allows a parent to see their children for a small period of time or possibly access them through telephone/electronic communication.
The Texas Legislator has determined that it is presumed that a “Standard Possession Order” is in the best interest of the children; unless a party provides evidence to prove otherwise (i.e. abuse or endangerment to the child). A Standard Possession Order grants one parent (the possessory conservator) time with the children every Thursday evening during the normal school term from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., and every first, third, and fifth weekend of each month (weekends of the month are determined by the Fridays in each month) beginning at 6:00 p.m. on Friday and ending at 6:00 p.m. on the following Sunday. In addition to these times, the possessory conservator is awarded thirty days in the summer, usually taken in the month of July, [approximately] a week during Christmas break, and alternating spring break and Thanksgiving holidays.
If a parent wishes to receive more time with the child, he/she may request an Expanded Possession Order. An Expanded Possession Order allows for a possessory conservator to extend the duration of the standard possession order. Specifically, on Thursdays, the non-primary parent can pick up the children when school is dismissed on Thursday and/or return the children when the children’s school resumes the following Friday and on weekends the non-primary parent can choose to pick up the children when school is dismissed on Friday and/or return the children when the children’s school resumes the following Monday.
Parents that desire a possession schedule that deviates from the Standard Possession or Expanded Possession Order certainly have the flexibility to be as creative as they want or need to be when shaping a possession schedule that best benefits that family’s needs. The Court will review the evidence and if the evidence shows that another arrangement would be in the children’s best interest, that the Standard Possession Order is just unworkable (i.e. due to the parties’ work schedules, that the child is less than 3 years old, or that there is a recent history of family violence), the Court may differ from a Standard Possession Order.