What about visitation and the Standard Possession Order (“SPO”)
Visitation is referred to as “possession and access”. Parents are usually the best people to determine the terms of visitation because they know their schedules and the child’s schedule better than anyone else. Of course, life happens and schedules change. Sometimes, one parent has to work late, will be out of town, or is sick, or the child is sick or has a school or extracurricular event. Each parent must be willing to work with the other parent in adjusting the visitation schedule.
The parents can mutually agree to a visitation plan, but if they can’t then the Standard Possession Order (“SPO”) takes effect. The SPO is the default provision and should be included in every divorce decree where a child is involved. It was designed by the Texas legislature to be fair for both parents and works for most circumstances. But, it is not the only visitation plan. It can be varied to fit a parent’s work schedule (such as a fire fighter) or to fit the particular circumstances of the case. The SPO applies to a child who is three years of age or older. The court may also order a parent to undergo drug testing or other counseling if there is evidence to support that claim.
The SPO allows the possessory parent to have possession of the child starting at 6:00 P.M. every 1st, 3rd and 5th Friday of each month and ending at 6:00 P.M. on the following Sunday, and every Thursday from 6:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M. The possessory parent may request an expanded SPO that allows him or her to either pick up the child at the time the child is dismissed from school or to return the child at the time school begins, or both. The SPO also contains provisions for when the child has a school holiday or a federal, state or local holiday. It also contains provisions dealing with holidays, including Thanksgiving, Christmas and spring break, summer visitation, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and the child’s birthday. When a parent lives more than 100 miles from the child’s residence, the SPO is slightly different.
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