As discussed in my blog yesterday, on March 12, 2013, a Texas jury in the Deion and Pilar Sanders divorce ruled that Deion Sanders would have Sole Managing Conservatorship of the couple’s two boys and that Deion and Pilar would be joint managing conservators of the couple’s daughter with Deion determining the daughter’s primary residence.  Last week, the Judge ordered that Deion Sanders was to no longer pay any child support to Pilar.  He also ruled that Pilar is to have a Standard Possession Order with all three children.

What exactly is a Standard Possession Order?  In Texas, there is a presumption, just like the presumption that two parents are to be Joint Managing Conservators, that it is in a child’s best interest that a parent have at least a Standard Possession Order with the child.  This presumption is rebuttable.  If you are requesting a parent have less than a Standard Possession Order, you must rebut the presumption by showing some form of child abuse, harm, or neglect or domestic violence as well as demonstrating that it is in the child’s best interest for the parent to have less possession and access than a Standard Possession Order.

 The Standard Possession Order is as follows:

Weekends – On the 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekend of the month beginning Friday at 6:00 p.m. and ending Sunday at 6:00 p.m.

Thursdays during the school year – Beginning at 6:00 p.m. and ending at 8:00 p.m.

Thirty Days in the summer – If a parent makes a specific designation by April 1st of each year, a parent may designate thirty days which shall be operated in no more than two periods with each period of possession being no less than seven days.
If a parent does not make a specific designation for their thirty days in the summer by April 1st, then the default possession is July 1st – 31st
The other parent then gets to pick one weekend of possession to occur during the parent’s thirty days in the summer as well as one weekend of possession during the parent’s regular 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekends of the month.

Spring Break in even years is awarded to the parent under a Standard Possession Order.

Holidays are divided between the parents based upon even and odd years. 
Christmas Holidays in Even-Numbered Years – In even-numbered years, beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school for the Christmas school vacation and ending at noon on December 28th
Christmas Holidays in Even-Numbered Years – In odd-numbered years, beginning at noon on December 28 and ending at 6:00 p.m. on the day before school resumes after that Christmas school vacation.
Thanksgiving in Odd-Numbered Years – beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school for the Thanksgiving holiday and ending at 6:00 p.m. on the Sunday following Thanksgiving.

Depending on which parent is under a Standard Possession Order, that parent is entitled to either Mother’s Day or Father’s Day weekend (depending on their sex) beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the Friday before the Mother’s/Father’s Day and ending at 6:00 p.m. on Mother’s/Father’s Day.

A parent under a Standard Possession Order may make an election to have an Expanded Standard Possession Order if the Judge finds that an Expanded Standard Possession Order is in a child’s best interest.  An Expanded Standard Possession Order means that a parent’s possession can begin at the time is school is dismissed and end at 6:00 p.m. on the respective day or it can begin at 6:00 p.m. and end at the time school resumes the day after the day of possession under a Standard Possession Order.  For example: on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekend of the month, a parent can elect (with the Judge’s permission) to have possession beginning at the time school is dismissed on Friday and ending at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday or beginning at 6:00 p.m. on Friday and ending at the time school resumes on Monday. 

What is significant with the Judge’s ruling regarding Pilar Sanders possession schedule is that the Judge must have found that it was not in the children’s best interest for Pilar to have an Expanded Standard Possession Order with the children and instead only awarded her a Standard Possession Order. 

Stay tuned for my next blog where I will discuss pre-nuptial agreements in Texas and the role Deion and Pilar Sanders’ pre-nuptial agreement plays in their divorce.