Possession in Texas: Children Under 3 - A Different Animal

Posted By Godwin Bowman & Martinez || Mar 11, 2016

The Texas Family Code sets forth a “Standard Possession Order” detailing custody procedures of children whose parents are going through (or have gone through) divorce. It is presumed that the standard possession order provides “reasonable minimum possession of a child” and is in the “best interest of the child.”

However, for children less than three years old, the Texas Family Code states that a courtshall (not “should”) consider all relevant factors, and provides some examples of things the court shall consider:

(1) caregiving to child before and after the suit

(2) any effect on the child from separation from either party

(3) availability and willingness of the parties to personally care for the child

(4) physical, medical, behavioral, and developmental needs of the child

(5) physical, medical, emotional, economic and social conditions of the parties

(6) individuals, other than the parties, who will be present during periods of possession

(7) siblings present

(8) child’s need to develop healthy attachments to both parents

(9) need for continuity of routine

(10) location/proximity of parents

(11) ability of the parents to share in parenting responsibilities.

Additionally, the court shall render a prospective order to start when the child turns three. It is presumed that, once a child reaches his/her third birthday, the standard possession order should apply.

Possession and access orders require the court to conduct a very fact-intensive inquiry into the specific parents and children at issue. It is important to contact a board certified family lawyer to help you evaluate options and present your facts and position.

Categories: Family Law News