In Texas, if your child is under the age of three, there is no presumed possession schedule that is in the child’s best interest. The standard possession order set forth in the Texas Family Code that is often discussed is the presumed possession schedule once a child is three-years-old or older. What does that mean for you as the parent?
If the parents agree on the possession schedule, the Court will most likely approve and adopt the proposed schedule as an order of the Court citing that the order is in your child best interest. If you and the other parent (or party to the lawsuit) do not agree on the possession schedule, then you will appear in court in front of a Judge with each party proposing a preferred possession schedule. It’s critical to be able to articulate to the other party as well as the Court the possession schedule that you believe is in your child’s best interest and why. You know the child best. Assuming the Judge will order a schedule that you agree with can be a costly mistake. The judge may simply check the box marked “Standard Possession Order” even if your child is under the age of three.
If a weekend from Friday to Monday is too long, then suggest the length of time that would be appropriate. A custom possession schedule may be best if you are breastfeeding. A parent’s work schedule due to working nights, traveling for work, and/or varying work days are additional reasons to propose a custom possession schedule. Other reasons could include special medical needs of the child or distance between the residences of the parties.
If you are opposed to the other parent having the child overnights, then we recommend proposing more frequent visits that are not overnight. Possession schedules are subject to change and modification. So, the best schedule for your young tender-aged child is a schedule that gradually changes based on the needs of your child. The graduated schedule could change based on the child’s age, number of periods of possession exercised, milestone, and/or other term or condition. In absence of an agreement, if a court case is pending a possession schedule for your child will be determined at a temporary orders’ hearing or final trial. Be proactive in determining the possession schedule that you believe is in your child’s best interest.