In the United States, Texas is the largest mainland state and is second only to Alaska in terms of size in the union. With that, people who have gotten divorced may live a significant distance away from their former spouse. If there are children from the marriage, this can be a challenge. Child custody and parenting time are vital parts of a family law case. Distance can be an obstacle with the standard possession order and parenting time. It is important to know how this is addressed under the law.
What parents should know about parenting time and distance
First, parents should have a grasp of possession and access and what they mean. Possession is seeing the child in person; access is any form of interaction whether that is through electronic video means or on the telephone. It also covers visiting the child’s school, taking part in extracurricular activities and having the right to see their personal and medical records.
When there is a possession order (previously known as visitation), this is when the child will spend time with a parent. In general, the parents will share the responsibility to care for the child. The times when the child sees the noncustodial parent will vary. The distance is a factor.
When parents reside within 100 miles of each other, the standard possession order (SPO) will give the noncustodial parent certain times with the child. They might have the child on the first, third and fifth weekends, one weeknight each week while school is in session, approximately 50% of holidays and a longer time during summer vacation.
On the first, third and fifth Friday, the noncustodial parent will have the child for the weekend. This goes from 6:00 p.m. on the Friday to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday. In some cases, the noncustodial parent brings the child to school on Monday. Of course, if the parents are on good terms, they can trade days as needed or even come up with their own plan.
If the distance surpasses 100 miles, the SPO is different. The noncustodial parent can select which weekend they will have the child. They can select a weekend if they give the other parent two weeks’ notice. To elect this alternative possession schedule, the noncustodial parent must give written notice to the custodial parent within 90 days. There will also be extended time over the summer and for spring break.
Parents are advised to try and be agreeable with each other for special occasions like birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Thanksgiving and the religious holidays. Even if the sides are acrimonious over lingering negative feelings about how the marriage ended, it will still benefit the child to have a strong relationship with both parents and to see that the parents are trying to be cordial. In some cases, the parents are friendly and there are few disagreements with custody and parenting time.
Addressing distance with parenting time warrants professional help
For people in Sherman and the surrounding areas, a divorce can bring myriad concerns, especially when children are involved. In trying to craft a parenting plan and ensuring both parents spend sufficient time with the child to form a bond, it is important to think about how distances are handled.
This is not only complex but it has the potential to spark discord. Having experienced assistance, whether it is from the perspective of the custodial parent or the noncustodial parent, is imperative. Calling caring and honest family law professionals can be beneficial to assessing the situation, creating innovative ideas and forging workable solutions either through negotiation or by going to court.