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The Standard Possesion Order in Texas

Under Texas law, a person who has the rights to a child is known as conservator, and this designation may be categorized in two different ways. A person may be appointed a managing conservator or a possessory conservator by the courts. Generally, parents are presumed to be joint managing conservators, but the designations might change if a judge deems it necessary.

Generally, one adult is appointed to be the primary managing conservator for a child. This individual maintains primary custody of the child and has the ability to determine where the child resides. The other parent is designated the non-custodial parent and has the right to possession of the child according to the terms listed in the Standard Possession Order.

In the terms of the order, the non-custodial parent is able to take possession of the child on the first, third and fifth weekends of every month, and he or she is also given possession on Thursday of every week. The Standard Possession Order also provides guidelines for visitation on special occasions. Mothers are given possession on Mother's Day, and fathers are given possession on Father's Day. Possession during the Thanksgiving holiday is divided by year, and the Christmas holiday is split into two roughly equal parts giving both parents possession.

These standards and designations are applied when the parents of the child are unable to cooperate and the case is taken to court. However, parents are given the opportunity to negotiate agreement that proves guidelines and expectations regarding child custody, childcare and visitation. An attorney may be able to help a client understand his or her rights and obligations during such negotiations.

Source: Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, "Visitation Rights and Responsibilities ", September 23, 2014

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