Week on/week off custody. Will a 50/50 possession schedule work for you?
Several courts are approving a week on/week off or some other version of a 50/50 possession schedule. Most of the time, it has to be agreed upon by the parties. Otherwise, most courts will stick to the Texas Family Code as a guide for visitation which is some parent is primary and the other parent has standard visitation or expanded standard.
For a 50/50 possession schedule to work, it must be in the best interest of your children. That is the most important factor that a court will consider when determining whether or not to approve the possession schedule. So, how do you determine if this is the case for you and your family? First of all, you do need to live relatively close to the other parent. Reason being, whether you have week on/week off, a 2-2-3 schedule (parent A has Mon/Tues., parent B has Wed./Thurs., and then alternate Fri.-Sun.), or some other 50/50 possession schedule, you have to make sure either you or some other competent adult that you elect can get the children to and from school on your days.
Second of all, you really need to be able to co-parent with the other party to the extent that you can at least communicate civilly regarding the children. This does not mean that you absolutely have to communicate in person with the other parent, texting and e-mailing is okay. But, obviously if you can hold a conversation with the other parent in front of your children and play nice, this is going to be viewed as a tremendous effort by both parties’ when the judge is considering your case. Co-parenting includes being on the same page with certain issues such as bedtime, homework, punishment, etc. As you can imagine, if one parent allows the children to stay up all hours of the night on a school night while the other parent has a strict schedule, this probably will not work. Again, that is where the communication comes in as an important factor. It would be great if you could sit down with the other parent and decide what you are going to do when the children make a bad grade, defy you, etc. Are you going to ground them? If so, what will the grounding consist of—taking away television/phone/electronics privileges?
If you and the other parent can accomplish this, the judge on your case will surely commend both of you. Not only is it the public policy of the Texas legislature to promote and foster healthy relationships between children and their parents, it is better for everyone involved. Children have a hard time coping with cases, especially when the parents are fighting constantly and at odds with one another. Remember, at some point you loved the other parent and you had children together. Now, you cannot live together but do you want that to mean that you only see your children first, third and fifth weekends? If you can make a 50/50 possession schedule work, you will definitely be happier.
This is an obvious difficult decision on all sides. Contact your attorney at Guest and Gray Law Firm to discuss all of your options and come up with the best result for your family.