Visitation for Children 3 and Younger
The Standard Possession Order is the default schedule for visitation with children after a Woodlands divorce. There is one large category that the Standard Possession Order does not apply to. That category is children less than 3 years old. If you leave visitation up to the judge when you have a child younger than 3 you will likely not receive the Standard Possession Order.
What Will the Judge Do?
The legal responsibility of the judge in setting visitation for a child younger than 3 is to render an “appropriate order” under the circumstances that is in the best interest of the child. The judge has a lot of discretion to determine exactly what he or she thinks is appropriate, but there are some specific criteria the judge may also consider:
- the age, developmental status, circumstances, needs, and best interest of the child;
- the circumstances of the managing conservator and of the parent named as a possessory conservator; and
- any other relevant factor.
After the 3rd Birthday
The statutes also provide that when the judge issues an order for visitation with a child younger than 3 that the judge must also render a prospective order to take effect on the child’s 3rd birthday. The prospective order is presumptively the Standard Possession Order.
Is Every Other Weekend Enough For You?
The core of the Standard Possession Order is visitation every other weekend. Many parents active in their children’s lives find this new restriction unacceptable, and rightfully so. However, in almost every case left up to the judge it is the visitation schedule the judge will fall back on as “legally appropriate” even if it is clearly unworkable in real life due to work schedules or other factors. If you want a custom visitation schedule consider Collaborative Divorce and the unique opportunities an un-litigated divorce offers to you and your children.
About The Author
The Woodlands Divorce Resource is here to help you with your divorce, child custody, or other family law issue in Montgomery County or Harris County. Many of our visitors come from the areas of The Woodlands, Conroe, Oak Ridge North, Cut and Shoot, and other communities in the Montgomery County area or Houston and North Harris County. If you need legal assistance with your family law issue speak with a divorce lawyer in The Woodlands, TX today and protect your rights. Contact The Shea Law Firm at (832) 592-7913.