http://texaslawhelp.org/files/685E99A9-A3EB-6584-CA74-137E0474AE2C/attachments/5FE80C71-4C6D-4F06-8A07-9B586EFC4BB3/ex_standard_poss_order.pdf
The Texas Standard Possession Order

In Texas, we have the Standard Possession Schedule, passed down to us by our Austin parenting experts, the Texas Legislature. It generally provides for the “non-primary” parent to have possession of the children alternating weekends, some summer time, and split the holidays. So, the child lives primarily with one parent and “visits” (yes, we still use that word in Texas divorces) with the other parent. Studies show this arrangement may not be the best thing for kids who are unwittingly subject to the parents’ divorce.

A new study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health (Fifty Moves a Year: Is there an association between joint physical custody and psychosomatic problems in children?) suggests that children are mentally healthiest when they are able to split their time with both divorced parents. Children who lived primarily with one parent had higher rates of sleep problems, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, headaches, tension, and sadness. On the other hand, children who lived for periods of time with both parents reported significantly fewer problems.

So, stability in housing was less of a factor for these children than the stability of their relationships with both parents.

The study also emphasized that kids become the most stressed out by the level of angry fighting between parents. It is not the parental separation or the divorce itself that causes kids stress. It’s the conflict and how the parents manage the conflict.

NOTE: The Texas Legislature has pending before it currently a HB 2363 that proposes to make “equal time” the standard in Texas instead of the Standard Possession Schedule. This bill remains in committee, so it seems unlikely that it will make it through before the end of the month, but it is one to watch.

Hat tip to Beth Greenfield’s article on Yahoo The Divorce Custody Arrangement that Benefits Kids the Most.

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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.