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Dads custody time 2018

I read an interesting study performed by Custody Xchange about parenting time state-by-state. (See How much custody time does dad get in your state?) Bottom line, their study showed that nationally a father is likely to receive on average 35% of time with a child by court order. Interestingly, 40% of states – 20 out of 50 – start with a 50/50 model for parenting time. For example, Florida has a 48 hours on and 48 hours off plan. Contrast this with Tennessee, who scored last of the 50 states, where a father is likely to receive about 21.8% of time with a child. In Tennessee, a father will likely receive a Friday to Sunday period twice a month.

This translates to about 183 days for dad in an equal state like Florida compared to Tennessee which gives an average of 80 days a year. That is a 100 day per year difference depending on the state lived in!

Texas scored close to the average, with fathers receiving about 33% of the child’s time. It was interesting to note in the study that when the 20 states that provide a start of 50/50 are eliminated from the study, Texas scored close to the top providing time for fathers compared with other states that do not provide equal time.

Last year, 20 states considered laws to make equal or shared co-parenting the presumed standard even over objection of one or both parents. (See More than 20 states in 2017 considered laws to promote shared custody of children after divorce from Washington Post.) Shared parenting, advocates say, replaces the “winner take all” attitude of custody cases. In one model, two parents enter a courtroom and at the end, one leaves a “parent” and the other leaves a “visitor”. In the other model, both remain parents even after the breakup of the relationship.

The visiting parent model came from old notions that mothers were better primary caretakers of children, diminishing the father’s role. The tide began to change in the late 1960’s and 70’s as women joined the workforce and roles at home began to change. The “tender years doctrine” favoring mothers has been replaced with a gender-neutral “best interest of the child” standard. Even so, judges still trended toward awarding mothers custody most of the time, making it unusual for fathers to be awarded custody of children in a contested case. Fathers rights advocates feel that more stringent laws imposing equal footing are necessary.

 

Here is the summary of Texas parenting time schedule from the Custody Xchange study:

Texas

Biggest county: Harris County

Source type: RL- Standard Possession Order

Year: 2018

Regular schedule: Weekends— On weekends that occur during the regular school term, beginning at [6:00 P.M./the time the child’s school is regularly dismissed] on the first, third, and fifth Friday of each month and ending at [6:00 P.M. on the following Sunday/the time the child’s school resumes after the weekend]. On weekends that do not occur during the regular school term, beginning at 6:00 P.M. on the first, third, and fifth Friday of each month and ending at 6:00 P.M. on the following Sunday.

Weekend Possession Extended by a Holiday— Except as otherwise expressly provided in this Standard Possession Order, if a weekend period of possession by Possessory Conservator begins on a student holiday or a teacher in-service day that falls on a Friday during the regular school term, as determined by the school in which the child is enrolled, or a federal, state, or local holiday that falls on a Friday during the summer months when school is not in session, that weekend period of possession shall begin at [6:00 P.M. on the immediately preceding Thursday/the time the child’s school is regularly dismissed on the Thursday immediately preceding the student holiday or teacher in-service day and 6:00 P.M. on the Thursday immediately preceding the federal, state, or local holiday during the summer months]. Except as otherwise expressly provided in this Standard Possession Order, if a weekend period of possession by Possessory Conservator ends on or is immediately followed by a student holiday or a teacher inservice day that falls on a Monday during the regular school term, as determined by the school in which the child is enrolled, or a federal, state, or local holiday that falls on a Monday during the summer months when school is not in session, that weekend period of possession shall end at 6:00 P.M. on that Monday.

Thursdays—On Thursday of each week during the regular school term, beginning at [6:00 P.M./the time the child’s school is regularly dismissed] and ending at [8:00 P.M./the time the child’s school resumes on Friday].

Holiday schedule: Spring Vacation in Even-Numbered Years—In even-numbered years, beginning at [6:00 P.M. on the day the child is dismissed from school/the time the child’s school is dismissed] for the school’s spring vacation and ending at 6:00 P.M. on the day before school resumes after that vacation. Extended Summer Possession by Possessory Conservator— With Written Notice by April 1—If Possessory Conservator gives Sole Managing Conservator written notice by April 1 of a year specifying an extended period or periods of summer possession for that year, Possessory Conservator shall have possession of the child for thirty days beginning no earlier than the day after the child’s school is dismissed for the summer vacation and ending no later than seven days before school resumes at the end of the summer vacation in that year, to be exercised in no more than two separate periods of at least seven consecutive days each, as specified in the written notice [include if applicable: , provided that the period or periods of extended summer possession do not interfere with Father’s Day possession]. These periods of possession shall begin and end at 6:00 P.M. on each applicable day. Without Written Notice by April 1—If Possessory Conservator does not give Sole Managing Conservator written notice by April 1 of a year specifying an extended period or periods of summer possession for that year, Possessory Conservator shall have possession of the child for thirty consecutive days in that year beginning at 6:00 P.M. on July 1 and ending at 6:00 P.M. on July 31.

Notwithstanding the Thursday periods of possession during the regular school term and the weekend periods of possession ORDERED for Possessory Conservator, it is expressly ORDERED that Sole Managing Conservator shall have a superior right of possession of the child as follows: Spring Vacation in Odd-Numbered Years—In odd-numbered years, beginning at [6:00 P.M. on the day the child is dismissed from school/the time the child’s school is dismissed] for the school’s spring vacation and ending at 6:00 P.M. on the day before school resumes after that vacation. Summer Weekend Possession by Sole Managing Conservator—If Sole Managing Conservator gives Possessory Conservator written notice by April 15 of a year, Sole Managing Conservator shall have possession of the child on any one weekend beginning at 6:00 P.M. on Friday and ending at 6:00 P.M. on the following Sunday during any one period of the extended summer possession by Possessory Conservator in that year, provided that Sole Managing Conservator picks up the child from Possessory Conservator and returns the child to that same place [include if applicable: and that the weekend so designated does not interfere with Father’s Day possession]. Extended Summer Possession by Sole Managing Conservator—If Sole Managing Conservator gives Possessory Conservator written notice by April 15 of a year or gives Possessory Conservator fourteen days’ written notice on or after April 16 of a year, Sole Managing Conservator may designate one weekend beginning no earlier than the day after the child’s school is dismissed for the summer vacation and ending no later than seven days before school resumes at the end of the summer vacation, during which an otherwise scheduled weekend period of possession by Possessory Conservator shall not take place in that year, provided that the weekend so designated does not interfere with Possessory Conservator’s period or periods of extended summer possession [include if applicable: or with Father’s Day possession].

Other holidays: Notwithstanding the weekend and Thursday periods of possession of Possessory Conservator, Sole Managing Conservator and Possessory Conservator shall have the right to possession of the child as follows: Christmas Holidays in Even-Numbered Years—In even-numbered years, Possessory Conservator shall have the right to possession of the child beginning at [6:00 P.M. on the day the child is dismissed from school/the time the child’s school is dismissed] for the Christmas school vacation and ending at noon on December 28, and Sole Managing Conservator shall have the right to possession of the child beginning at noon on December 28 and ending at 6:00 P.M. on the day before school resumes after that Christmas school vacation. Christmas Holidays in Odd-Numbered Years—In odd-numbered years, Sole Managing Conservator shall have the right to possession of the child beginning at [6:00 P.M. on the day the child is dismissed from school/the time the child’s school is dismissed] for the Christmas school vacation and ending at noon on December 28, and Possessory Conservator shall have the right to possession of the child 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—In odd-numbered years, Possessory Conservator shall have the right to possession of the child beginning at [6:00 P.M. on the day the child is dismissed from school/the time the child’s school is dismissed] for the Thanksgiving holiday and ending at 6:00 P.M. on the Sunday following Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving in Even-Numbered Years—In even-numbered years, Sole Managing Conservator shall have the right to possession of the child beginning at [6:00 P.M. on the day the child is dismissed from school/the time the child’s school is dismissed] for the Thanksgiving holiday and ending at 6:00 P.M. on the Sunday following Thanksgiving.

Child’s Birthday—If a conservator is not otherwise entitled under this Standard Possession Order to present possession of [the/a] child on the child’s birthday, that conservator shall have possession of the child [include if desired: and the child’s minor siblings] [possession of siblings on a child’s birthday is not part of the standard possession order] beginning at 6:00 P.M. and ending at 8:00 P.M. on that day, provided that that conservator picks up the child[ren] from the other conservator’s residence and returns the child[ren] to that same place. Father’s Day—Father shall have the right to possession of the child each year, beginning at 6:00 P.M. on the Friday preceding Father’s Day and ending at [6:00 P.M. on/8:00 A.M. on the Monday after] Father’s Day, provided that if Father is not otherwise entitled under this Standard Possession Order to present possession of the child, he shall pick up the child from the other conservator’s residence and return the child to that same place. Mother’s Day—Mother shall have the right to possession of the child each year, beginning at [6:00 P.M./the time the child’s school is regularly dismissed] on the Friday preceding Mother’s Day and ending at [6:00 P.M. on/the time the child’s school resumes after] Mother’s Day, provided that if Mother is not otherwise entitled under this Standard Possession Order to present possession of the child, she shall pick up the child from the other conservator’s residence and return the child to that same place.

Percentage custody for non-custodial parent: 33%

 

 

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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!”

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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.

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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.

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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.