Child Possession Orders
Some parents who have children but are not together strictly stick to their child possession schedules. Others are very flexible.
Texas child possession orders typically provide that child possession shall be as the parents agree, but if they fail to agree, then there is a schedule that must be followed.
Judges Want Both Parents to Have Quality Child Possession
Most professionals, including judges, would like to see the parents share the children in the manner that is on the best interest of the children, regardless of what the schedule says. I have often said that the best situation is one where the parents never need to read the child possession order; they just cooperate as best they can.
Unfortunately, there are parents who will only use the schedule and are extremely jealous of their time with the kids, often to the detriment of the kids.
One question that we get somewhat frequently is “what happens if one parent schedules something for the child during the other parent’s time?” For example, the dad might sign a child up for a sport that has weekly practices and games on the weekends. Ideally, both parents should be happy and proud that the child is doing this, but that is not always the case. Or perhaps the parents each sign the child up for an event and the schedules conflict.
If so, then technically the court order prevails. When this is enforced, it may be that one parent is happy and the other disappointed. Frankly, who cares; what is important it that the child is either denied the ability to do what he or she wants or else the child is used as a pawn in the parents’ vicious game of child possession chess.
You can, however, help to eliminate this conflict and to help the child by paying attention to the following pointers:
- Be flexible. After all, what is more important than your child?
- Plan things together. This is incredibly important, but it requires that the parents continue to work together. (The child is worth it, I promise.) If both parents want the same thing then it is easy to do this. If not, then one or both are going to have to compromise.
- It is important to remember that the child may be telling the parents vastly different things. A kid might tell the dad that he loves the soccer team, but tell the mom that he does not. Children are experts at playing the parents against each other; and sometimes, the child just says what he or she thinks that the parent wants to hear. You need to listen and communicate well with your child.
- Don’t get caught up in measuring time. We have had clients who know exactly how much time that the child spends with the other parent and is intent on making sure that it is not one minute longer than the order permits.
- No matter which parent schedules the event, both should make an attempt to go and support the child.
Even if you are divorced, you are still partners in raising your children. If both parents don’t “get” that, then the kids will assuredly suffer. Don’t let your ego (or your new spouse) get in the way of taking care of that precious child.