New Bill Aims to Change Visitation for Children Under 3

The Standard Possession Order put in place by the legislature and used in many Woodlands Divorce cases is designed for children 3 years of age and older. If a child less than 3 years old is involved in a Woodlands Divorce, then the visitation schedule that is in the best interest of the child is a lot less clear. A new bill introduced in the legislature recently seeks to elaborate on how visitation schedules for children less than 3 should be created.

The Bill is SB 820. The way the bill is written as it was introduced it seeks to add the following to the Texas Family Code:

(a) In rendering the order, the court shall consider evidence of all relevant factors, including:
(1) the caregiving provided to the child before and during the current suit;
(2) the effect on the child that may result from separation from either party;
(3) the availability of the parties as caregivers and the willingness of the parties to personally care for the child;
(4) the physical, medical, behavioral, and developmental needs of the child;
(5) the physical, medical, emotional, economic, and social conditions of the parties;
(6) the impact and influence of individuals, other than the parties, who will be present during periods of possession;
(7) the presence of siblings during periods of possession;
(8) the child’s need to develop healthy attachments to both parents;
(9) the child’s need for continuity of routine;
(10) the location and proximity of the residences of the parties;
(11) the need for a temporary possession schedule that incrementally shifts to the schedule provided in the prospective order under Subsection (d) based on: (A) the age of the child; or (B) minimal or inconsistent contact with the child by a party;
(12) the ability of the parties to share in the responsibilities, rights, and duties of parenting; and
(13) any other evidence of the best interest of the child.

(b) Notwithstanding the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, in rendering an order under Subsection (a), the court shall make findings in support of the order if:
(1) a party files a written request with the court not later than the 10th day after the date of the hearing; or
(2) a party makes an oral request in court during the hearing on the order.

(c) The court shall make and enter the findings required by Subsection (b) not later than the 15th day after the date the party makes the request.

It is too soon to tell if this will be the new law of the land in Woodlands Divorce cases or if it will make it through the legislative process in a modified form. Call us at (832) 592-7913 if you need to speak with a Woodlands Divorce Lawyer about your divorce case in The Woodlands or anywhere in Montgomery County. For additional free information on divorce in The Woodlands, download my free guide The Woodlands Divorce Guide