Practice Areas

Non-standard Possession

Although the standard possession order is the only possession and access schedule written in the Texas Family Code, the Texas Legislature, as well as the courts in Texas, recognize that it’s not appropriate in all situations. Texas courts have the liberty to deviate from the standard possession order if either party can demonstrate that standard possession would not be in the child’s best interest. Nonstandard child custody arrangements or visitation restricting access to a child can be fought. One of our attorneys experienced with complex custody cases can help you get the access you need to your children.

Although a child’s best interest should ultimately be considered on a case-by-case basis, some consistent factors to think about are a conservator’s child-rearing capabilities, their involvement with the child, the conservators’ work schedules, the child’s age, the child’s or conservator’s circumstances, and so forth.

There is no clear rule that indicates when a court is justified to deviate from the standard possession order. To move off of a standard possession order, one must rebut the presumption that the standard possession schedule is in the child’s best interest.

In certain situations, a parent can request that the other parent’s right to possession of, or access to, the child be restricted if the facts lend to this being in the child’s best interest. However, it’s rare that a court will order a complete denial of access and this generally occurs in only the most extreme circumstances. Ultimately, courts prefer to give a parent the ability to interact with their child, even if that means the periods of possession and access are supervised by a third party.


What Warrants Termination of Possession or Visitation Rights?

Your attorney should be able to assess the facts of the case and make determinations on whether pursuing a complete denial of possession and access by a parent is warranted. Some common factors that have been recognized in Texas courts to warrant a complete denial of possession and access to a child, or at least supervised visitation, include:

  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Family violence and/or sexual abuse
  • Real threat of international abduction
  • False reports of child abuse
  • Mental health issues
  • Parental alienation

This is by no means an exhaustive list; however, it sheds light on the types of things courts consider when contemplating a complete denial of visitation or ordering supervised visitation.

This is also not a suggestion that the standard visitation schedule is the maximum amount of time a visiting parent will get with the child. If the facts support it, a court has the authority to make an order that provides for more than standard possession. For instance, though perhaps not the norm, 50/50 possession of a child has become more common.

The family attorneys at Orsinger, Nelson, Downing, & Anderson have experience in fighting possession and access schedules that deviate from the standard possession order. In the end, it’s all about what is best for your son or daughter, and we are here to help you protect your child and the relationship you have with them.