Parents in Texas, absent family violence or child abuse, harm or neglect, are entitled to at a minimum a possession schedule with their children called the Standard Possession Schedule. Each state has its own version of a “Standard Possession Order.”

The Texas Standard Possession Schedule allows the non-primary parent to have possession of the child at a minimum on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekends of the month beginning at 6 pm on Fridays and ending at 6pm on Sundays, Thursdays during the school year from 6 pm – 8 pm, and 30 days in the summer. Additionally, parents alternate having possession of the child during Spring Break, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year holidays. More and more often, parents who live close in proximity are agreeing to 50/50 possession schedules which entitle each parent to possession of the child ½ of the time.

Recently, Yahoo profiled the possession schedule of the infant twins of David Tutera and his estranged partner, Ryan Jurica. The twins were delivered via surrogate in July, 2013. One of the infant twins is the biological child of David Tutera and the other infant twin is the biological child of Ryan Jurica. Recently, Mr. Tutera and Mr. Jurica announced that they will “split custody” of the infant twins. Split custody means that siblings are separated and one child goes to one parent and the other child goes to the other parent. In this situation, Mr. Tutera will have custody of his biological twin child and Mr. Jurica will have custody of his biological twin child. Mr. Tutera has defended this decision and states he intends to have his child know her twin. However, the current possession schedule does not provide for the twins to be raised together in the same home.

Most experts agree that splitting up siblings, whether they are half or full siblings, is not in a child’s best interest. The sibling relationship is an important one. Children need their siblings to connect with and grow together. The bottom line is the younger the children, the less likely a Court in Texas will allow the children to be split apart. Therefore, it is important to research different possession schedules and what experts recommend when deciding what schedule is best for children and their relationships with the family unit as a whole.

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Photo of Michelle O'Neil Michelle O'Neil

Michelle May O’Neil has 27 years’ experience representing small business owners, professionals, and individuals in litigation related to family law matters such as divorce, child custody, and complex property division. Described by one lawyer as “a lethal combination of sweet-and-salty”, Ms. O’Neil exudes…

Michelle May O’Neil has 27 years’ experience representing small business owners, professionals, and individuals in litigation related to family law matters such as divorce, child custody, and complex property division. Described by one lawyer as “a lethal combination of sweet-and-salty”, Ms. O’Neil exudes genuine compassion for her client’s difficulties, yet she can be relentless when in pursuit of a client’s goals. One judge said of Ms. O’Neil, “She cannot be out-gunned, out-briefed, or out-lawyered!”

Family Law Specialist

Ms. O’Neil became a board-certified family law specialist by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 1997 and has maintained her certification since that time. While representing clients in litigation before the trial court is an important part of her practice, Ms. O’Neil also handles appellate matters in the trial court, courts of appeals and Texas Supreme Court. Lawyers frequently consult with Ms. O’Neil on their litigation cases about specialized legal issues requiring particularized attention both at the trial court and appellate levels. This gives her a unique perspective and depth of perception that benefits both her litigation and appellate clients.

Top Lawyers in Texas and America

Ms. O’Neil has been named to the list of Texas SuperLawyers for many years, 2011-2018, a peer-voted honor given to only about 5% of the lawyers in the state of Texas. In 2014-2018, Ms. O’Neil received the special honor of being named by Texas SuperLawyers as one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in Texas, Top 100 Lawyers in Texas, and Top 100 Lawyers in DFW. She was named one of the Best Lawyers in America for 2016 and received an “A-V” peer review rating by Martindale-Hubbell Legal Directories for the highest quality legal ability and ethical standards.

Author and Speaker

A noted author, Ms. O’Neil released her second book Basics of Texas Divorce Law in November 2010, with a second edition released in 2013, and a third edition expected in 2015.  Her first book, All About Texas Law and Kids, was published in September 2009 by Texas Lawyer Press. In 2012, Ms. O’Neil co-authored the booklets What You Need To Know About Common Law Marriage In Texas and Social Study Evaluations.  The State Bar of Texas and other providers of continuing education for attorneys frequently enlist Ms. O’Neil to provide instruction to attorneys on topics of her expertise in the family law arena.