Category Archives: Harris County Child Custody Lawyer

Child custody jury trial

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Child custody litigation is arguably one of the most stressful aspects of a family law case. In most states, child custody trials are heard by a judge as opposed to a jury; Texas is the only state permits jury trials for custody cases. Child custody can be one of several issues before the court in divorces cases, or it can be the only issue where parents are unmarried or where one parent is requesting a custody change after an initial custody determination during divorce.  A child custody case is usually initiated by filing a petition with the court, which can be called different things depending on the state. It may be either a Petition or Complaint for Determination of Child Custody, or a Request for Modification of Custody, or in divorce cases the filing party can request custody of a minor child in their Petition for Divorce. Once the appropriate petition and supporting documents are signed, they must be filed with the Court. After filing the appropriate paperwork, the petitioner must arrange for the Respondent, the opposing party in the case, to be served with the papers. Most courts have very specific requirements for what the petitioner must include with the papers they give the respondent. In many jurisdictions, the Petitioner must arrange for a law enforcement officer or private process server to personally deliver the court papers, called pleadings, to the respondent. Other jurisdictions, however, permit the petitioner to send the pleadings to the opposing party by certified mail. Regardless of the method of service, each jurisdiction imposes a timeframe in which the opposing party must respond to the Petitioner’s petition. If the opposing party does not respond within the required timeframe, the Petitioner can usually request that the Court issue a default which would restrict the opposing party’s ability to contest, or argue against, petitioner’s requests on certain issues. If the opposing party responds to the petition indicating that he does not agree to the Petitioner’s proposed custody and visitation arrangements, the next step would likely be discovery. The discovery process is the phase in the child custody litigation where the parties try to discover relevant information about the case. Discovery is carried out by sending requests to the opposing party asking the opponent to provide answers to questions, documents, or other evidence or information that might lead to the discovery of evidence. Some common discovery methods are service of Child Custody Interrogatories, Requests for Admissions, and Requests for Production of Documents. These discovery methods permit the parties to gain a more in depth awareness of the other party’s position with regard to custody as well as each other’s financial position for the purpose of calculating child support. After both parties have requested and responded to discovery requests, the next step is likely for the parties to attend child custody mediation. Many courts in many jurisdictions require mediation in child custody cases prior to having the case heard by the court. Mediation is a process where the mediator, a third-party who is neutral, helps the parties try to reach an agreement. If the parties do reach an agreement, it will usually be reduced to writing that same day, all the parties will sign it, and the parties may have to attend a very short hearing for the judge to hear testimony that regarding the terms of the agreement to determine if the same is in the best interest of the minor children. In the event that the parties do not reach an agreement, they go to trial for the judge to decide their case. Before going to trial, the parties usually conduct some additional discovery such as conducting depositions. There will also be deadlines for the parties to exchange a list of witnesses and exhibits that will be used at trial. The judge is charged to determine what is in the best interest of the minor child. Therefore, the parties are tasked with soliciting witnesses to testify at the trial that supports their position as the child’s best interest. Ideal witnesses in custody trials are the children’s babysitters, mutual friends of the parties, family members, and neighbors who have seen both parties interact with the children but are willing to advocate for the children spending the majority of time with one party rather than the other. The goal is to paint a picture for the judge of how each parent cares for the child and how it would be detrimental for the opposing party to have custody of the child. In some cases, the parties will elicit the assistance of a guardian-ad-litem, a neutral party who is charged with interviewing both of the parties, the children, and if applicable child care providers and teachers in an effort to gather the necessary information in order to make a recommendation to the Court as to what is the best interest of the minor children. Contested custody trials can be scheduled for anywhere from a few hours to a few days depending on the number of witnesses and complexity of the issues involved. At the beginning of the trial, the judge may ask each party to give a brief opening statement outlining what they expect their evidence to show and what relief that they are seeking from the Court. The petitioner will then call his first witness and the respondent has an opportunity to cross-examine his witness. Once the petitioner has called all of his witnesses, he will rest his case and the respondent will have an opportunity to call all of her witnesses. Again, the Petitioner will have the opportunity to cross-examine each of the respondent’s witnesses. Some of the witnesses will be used to authenticate documents such as report cards or medical records that are introduced into evidence as exhibits. Authentication of documents means that the document is shown to be what the party entering it as evidence claims it is. Other items that may be used as exhibits in the trial are photos of the parties and the minor child, attendance records for the minor child, the parties’ arrest records, or social networking print-outs. The goal with regard to exhibits is to give the judge tangible articles to supplement the witness testimony. After the parties have presented all of their evidence, each party will likely give closing statements summarizing all of the evidence that he or she presented and again ask the Court to grant to him or her the relief requested in the initial petition. In some cases, the judge may call a recess after closing arguments to deliberate before rendering a decision that same day, while in other cases the judge advises the parties that he will take the case under advisement and fax his findings and decisions to the parties’ counsel.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael Busby Jr. is a divorce & family law attorney,  who practices in Harris and Fort Bend Counties, Texas. He has been in practice for over 14 years and has tried over 300 cases.  He is familiar with the policy and procedures of the Harris and Fort Bend County Texas family law courts.   Our office is open until 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for working folks. Michael Busby Jr. 2909 Hillcroft Suite 350 Houston, Texas 77057 (713) 974-1151 Visit me on the web at www.busby-lee.com

 

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Best interest of child test elements used in trial

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Although there is no standard definition of “best interests of the child,” the term generally refers to the deliberation that courts undertake when deciding what type of services, actions, and orders will best serve a child as well as who is best suited to take care of a child. “Best interests” determinations are generally made by considering a number of factors related to the child’s circumstances and the parent or caregiver’s circumstances and capacity to parent, with the child’s ultimate safety and well-being the paramount concern. Child support is a payment made to the parent or other court ordered individual in which a child (or children) primarily resides.  The payment is provided by the parent who does not having majority timesharing with the minor child or children. Child support is a statutory finding pursuant to child support guidelines.  We assist our clients in contesting child support based on the guidelines. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is for an individual who satisfies the means test. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is not for partnerships or corporations. The process generally takes about 4-6 months from filing the petition to receiving a discharge. Chapter 7 bankruptcies are typically filed by people with unmanageable amounts of consumer debts, such as credit card debt, medical bills, certain taxes and student loans, and payday loans. It can also be used to get rid of a house or vehicle that the taxpayer can no longer afford and avoid a deficiency judgment. A non-exhaustive list of factors courts may examine in determining the best interest of a child include: (1) the desires of the child; (2) the emotional and physical needs of the child now and in the future; (3) the emotional and physical danger to the child now and in the future; (4) the parental abilities of the individual seeking custody; (5) the programs available to assist the individual; (6) the plans for the child by the parent and the individual seeking custody; (7) the stability of the home; (8) the parent’s acts or omissions that indicate that the existing parent-child relationship is not a proper one; and (9) any excuse for the parent’s acts or omissions. The resolutions of these cases, though justified in some instances by the particular statutes or procedural issues before the court, are in fundamental conflict on when the courts should consider the best interests of the child and how to do so. The conflict is not at heart a legal one but an ethical one. Two categories of problems stand out. The first is balancing the “best interests” test with claims of parental rights. Parents have a right to separate, divorce, and move. They have a right to direct the upbringing of their children, including the right to exclude others from that function. They also have procedural rights to contest custody, visitation, and adoption. But the assertion of any of these rights may conflict with the child’s best interests. The second category is whether determination of the best interests of the child means attending to everything that affects the child or whether certain considerations should be disregarded. Should the courts take into account that one party seeking custody has substantially more income and can give the child better schooling, better medical care, and a less dangerous environment? Should they look at other considerations—homosexuality, religion, race, ancestry, etc? What about “living in a free country” or being a member of an ethnic community to which one has ancestral ties? Or does “best interests” mean the interests of the child in nurture and care apart from these considerations? Research in developmental psychology tells us that children need stability and security and are harmed when they lose their ongoing intimate relationships with those few adults who provide their nurture and care. A large literature in psychology documents the importance of these relationships of attachment between caregiver and child, especially for young children. When these relationships are stable, they serve as a secure base from which the young child ventures forth into the world of other people, things, and events. Children who enjoy relationships of intimacy and security with their closest caregiver(s) in the first three years are more likely than those who do not to be curious and explore their environments. They are more likely to be friendly and successful relating to other children and new adult caregivers, better able to communicate, more able to play and learn independently, and more likely to grow up to have successful relationships in marriage and at work. Psychologists and psychiatrists have taken this framework into the clinical realm. Good bodies of case material and descriptive studies of groups of people who have experienced loss of important ties demonstrate the existence of a pattern of problems now known as “attachment disorder.” When there is disruption of an ongoing important relationship of attachment, the child responds with an increased need to control whatever relationships she has the opportunity to come by. Of course, children have needs other than close attachment. It goes without saying that the placement and support package we create must provide for the child’s food, shelter, clothing, health care, and education. The child must be safe in her home, and she must have the opportunity to develop her skills, interests, and character strengths. The emphasis here is on attachment because this is the domain of early development most commonly misunderstood, under-valued, and ignored by the legal system. From the viewpoint of a developmental psychologist, early successful attachment becomes the working model of how to relate to other people while being an independent person, as well. We must protect children’s rights to continue their close relationships with nurturing adults.

Parental Alienation Syndrome

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Many clinicians and psychological experts have since identified this syndrome and given it any names .However Richard Gardner in 1985 coined the name Parental Alienation Syndrome(-PAS). PAS is a very basic issue when couples are going through a process of separation or divorce. This can be very difficult times for the couple and even more difficult for the child conceived during the marriage. Syndrome has been observed in child custody disputes during an ongoing divorce process.

PAS happens when one parent actively puts-down, verbally insults and criticizes his or her spouse while they are with the kids. It could also be observed when one parent is treating or referring  to a former spouse’s  new  partner in a derogatory manner. The parent who is doing the derogatory defamation of his or her spouse is the alienating parent, while the other parent is referred to as the alienated parent since he or she is the one that the child would eventually resent if this syndrome is confirmed.

The objective of the alienating parent is to frustrate their kid’s association with the alienated parent. Over time and with continuous rubbishing of the other parents character, the kid’s perspective of the alienated parent can be extremely influenced. The child may develop a lack of respect and nonchalance for their mom or dad, and may in the end come to detest them and totally not want them to continue to be a part of their lives. PAS is essentially utilizing one’s youngster as a weapon to hurt one’s present or previous marital partner. It is considered a form of child abuse, and can have enduring psychological implications for both the youngster and the individual he or she has been alienated from.

Alienating parents can utilize various strategies to harm their kid’s perspective of his or her mom or dad. They may frustrate custody arrangements and also encourage the child to do same. They might also reject or ignore agreed guidelines rightfully stipulated by the parent who does not currently have custody. They may punish the child for attempts made to reach or contact their mom or dad. They may also take this a step further by encouraging such an affected child to verbally attack or insult the other parent (alienated parent) or even give false witness against the parent.

PAS today is yet to be officially perceived as a mental issue by the American Psychological Association. Be that as it may, it has been considered by judges amid child custody debates. Judges have on occasions referred to an absence of observational proof as the reason why PAS is legally inadmissible. There is likewise a worry that claims of PAS can be abused by damaging parents whose exes are right to keep their youngsters far from them. This makes a complicated mental and legitimate debate. A few individuals do utilize their youngsters against their mates or exes, and this should not be neglected amid separation procedures. Notwithstanding, judges ought to be mindful so as not to be taken in by bogus cases of ill-use.

It is important that an ideal environment is created especially for the children during a divorce process. In such an environment anger or any emotion can be expressed freely and dealt with in the proper manner. This can be achieved via mediation, whatever feelings to be expressed are done in the presence of a mediator who can offer advice and conflict management guidance which is relieving. Essentially it keeps the children protected from the emotional complexities of the divorce.

Children should never be used as tools for obtaining any partners selfish goals; they are highly impressionable especially when they are young. They are the real causalities of custody disputes and the emotional burden and confusion is too much of a heavy load for any child to carry. Thus parents undergoing divorce should not overlook the existence of this phenomenon .Over time the courts would give better acknowledgement to this syndrome; however till then parents are enjoined to handle their disputes independent of the child’s development and emotional growth.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael Busby Jr. is a divorce & family law attorney,  who practices in Harris and Fort Bend Counties, Texas. He has been in practice for over 14 years and has tried over 300 cases.  He is familiar with the policy and procedures of the Harris and Fort Bend County Texas family law courts.   Our office is open until 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for working folks. Michael Busby Jr. 2909 Hillcroft Suite 350 Houston, Texas 77057 (713) 974-1151 Visit me on the web at www.busby-lee.com

What is a Harris County Parenting Plan

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A parenting plan in Harris county come from on the family law courts that could be a temporary or final court order that set out the rights and duties of parents in a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship.  Parenting plans make provisions relating to the conservatorship, possession of, and access to a child, child support, and puts a dispute resolution process in place to minimize future problems between parents.  A final parenting plan will further provide for the child’s changing needs as the childs grows and matures in a way that minimises the need for future modifications to the final Parenting plan.  Parents should try to reach an agreement on a Parenting plan.  However, if they cannot agree  on a final parenting plan, the court may order appropriate dispute resolution proceedings to determine the final Plan.  If agreed Plan cannot be reached after dispute resolution, the court will make that determination.

About the Author

Michael Busby Jr. is a divorce & family law attorney,  who practices in Harris and Fort Bend Counties, Texas. He has been in practice for over 14 years and has tried over 300 cases.  He is familiar with the policy and procedures of the Harris and Fort Bend County Texas family law courts.   Our office is open until 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for working folks. Michael Busby Jr. 2909 Hillcroft Suite 350 Houston, Texas 77057 (713) 974-1151 Visit me on the web at www.busby-lee.com

How to prepare for your child custody trial

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At the start of this article, I would like  to say that if you are preparing for an hearing in which child support is an issue, but not who determines the primary residence of your children, then this article will not likely help you.  When you and the other parent of your children cannot agree to whom shall be the parent who will establish the residence of the child for school purposes, or you cannot agree to rights and duties, then this article will provide some helpful advice.

Exam your past relationship with your child

I typically start at conception and then get up to speed with the last six months of the parent child relationship. Was the child planned?  How much time did father spent with mom during the pregnancy?  Did both the parents go to classes together?   Then you look at birth and the 1st year.  Did the mother nurse the child? How much time did mom take off work after the child was born?  Was dad at the hospital when the baby was born?  Who got up in the middle of the night to feed the child?  If the baby was nursed, did the mother pump the breast milk and dad helped feed the child?  Who gave the child baths during the 1st year?  Normally after the 1st year then you start table food.  Who prepared the meals?  Who does the child laundry?  Diapers, who changes and stocks them is also important.  Health of the child, during the 1st year.  Who took the child to the doctor?  After the second year, the child will be more active.  You will have potty training, play dates with friends and family, birthday parties.  Which parent was more active?   At school age, then you transition to your relationships with the child’s teachers and friends at school.  Which parent is meeting with the teachers?  Which parent does pick up and drop at the school?  Could the child read when the child started kindergarten?  What does attendance at school look like?  The child’s grades will likely be the most important. Your ability to describe your interactions with the child on a daily basis will typically be where we start when we examine your fitness as a parent and which parent is going to determine the residence of the child.

   What is your relationship like with parent of your child

The relationship that you have with your child’s other parent will be one of the most important topics in your trial.  Your ability to make decisions together and communicate with each other is something that the court will give great weight.  At the same time, if parental alienation is shown to occur from one parent, then this must also be discussed. Many times when custody is at issue, the relationship between both parents is poor.  Seldom is communication such that decisions can be made jointly.  Once the parents lawyer up, then the mudslinging starts, both paint a picture of wanting cooperation, but the other parent prevents this from occurring.  You may get over this by not talking to child about the litigation, and also advising the other parent of activities and children’s events that the other parent should or could attend.  For example,  school events, birthday parties, and sports activity.  Both parents typically have the right to attend these activities, when the child is not in their possession.  Making sure the other parent has notice, shows your ability to facilitate communication and keep the other parent informed.  Be on your best behavior, should the other parent attend these events and cheer together for your children.

Have a plan of action

You must have plan of action going forward to provide for your child.  I have seen time and time again, no plan of action by one side in a child custody dispute.  If the parties just recently separated, your finances are going to be changed.  Your employment could be effected because of having to plan to pick up the child earlier than when you were together with your partner.  Summer time results in extended periods with both parents, yet child support continues to have to be paid.  Look at keeping the child active and on track to be a responsible self supporting adult.  How is your daily, weekly, and monthly routine going to change if you are the primary parent?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael Busby Jr. is a divorce & family law attorney,  who practices in Harris and Fort Bend Counties, Texas. He has been in practice for over 13 years and has tried over 400 cases.  He is familiar with the policy and procedures of the Harris and Fort Bend County Texas Divorce Courts.   Our office is open until 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for working folks.

Michael Busby Jr.

2909 Hillcroft Suite 350

Houston, Texas 77057

(713) 974-1151

Visit me on the web at www.busby-lee.com

 



Termination of Parental Rights in Texas

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In my practice, I typically get men on a weekly basis who want to terminate their rights.  I get some woman who want to get the father out of the picture and ask make the same inquiry. As a Harris County Child Custody Lawyer,  in most cases, to terminate the parent-child relationship, the court must find by clear and convincing evidence that termination is in the child’s best interest.  Best interest does not require proof any any unique set of factors, and it does not limit proof to any specific factors.  Although proof of acts or omissions supporting a statutory ground for termination does not relieve the petitioner of the burden to prove the child best interest, the same evidence is usually proof of both findings.  The main inquiry, however, should remain on the best interest of the child, not the parent. This is where most parents fail to see that it is presumed that it is in the child’s best interest to have a mother and father.  Just because the parents cannot get along, does not give grounds to terminate.  Or because one parent does not want to pay child support.  At the same time under the best interest analysis, termination of the parent relationship is not justified when the evidence shows merely that a parent;’s failure to provide a more desirable decree of care and support of the child is due solely to misfortune of the lack of intelligence or training, not to indifference of malice.  In terminations cases, the court determine the child best interest by considering:

  1. the desires of the child,
  2. the emotional and physical needs of the child now and in the future,
  3. Any emotional and physical danger to the child now and in the future,
  4. The parenting ability of the individuals seeking custody,
  5. the programs available to help those individuals to promote the best interest of the child,
  6. the plans for the child made by those individuals or the agency seeking custody,
  7. the stability of the home, the acts or omissions of the parent indicating the the existing parent-child relationship is not a proper one,
  8. any excuse of the acts of omissions of the parents.

The standard of proof is by clear and convincing evidence.  This is less than beyond a reasonable doubt but more than a preponderance.  If you are seeking to terminate your rights in the Great Harris County Region, it is best to have another ready to adopt the child.  I can say without too much uncertainty, that if you have Child Protective Services involved, it is much easier for the state to terminate rights, than individuals through private attorney.  Although judges would deny this and most lawyers would only whisper it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael Busby Jr. is a divorce & family law attorney,  who practices in Harris and Fort Bend Counties, Texas. He has been in practice for over 13 years and has tried over 300 cases.  He is familiar with the policy and procedures of the Harris and Fort Bend County Texas Divorce Courts.   Our office is open until 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for working folks.

Michael Busby Jr.

2909 Hillcroft Suite 350

Houston, Texas 77057

(713) 974-1151

Visit me on the web at www.busby-lee.com

 



Harris County Child Custody Lawyer

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Harris County Child Custody Lawyer, Michael Busby Jr. will describe in detail the issues according to Texas state law you must address with your former lover and co-parent.

Four issues of state law address Child custody.  1.  Visitation  coupled with  2. Rights and Duties, 3.  Child Support  4. Health Insurance

Rights and Duties

Depending on you objective for naming a party as either a Joint managing conservator or a Possessory conservator, your right and duties will be governed by the status of the parties to the suit.

Sec. 153.005. APPOINTMENT OF SOLE OR JOINT MANAGING CONSERVATOR. (a) In a suit, the court may appoint a sole managing conservator or may appoint joint managing conservators. If the parents are or will be separated, the court shall appoint at least one managing conservator.

(a) A managing conservator must be a parent, a competent adult, an authorized agency, or a licensed child-placing agency.

Sec. 153.006. APPOINTMENT OF POSSESSORY CONSERVATOR. (a) If a managing conservator is appointed, the court may appoint one or more possessory conservators.

(a) The court shall specify the rights and duties of a person appointed possessory conservator.

(b) The court shall specify and expressly state in the order the times and conditions for possession of or access to the child, unless a party shows good cause why specific orders would not be in the best interest of the child.

Sec. 151.001. RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF PARENT. (a) A parent of a child has the following rights and duties:

(1) the right to have physical possession, to direct the moral and religious training, and to designate the residence of the child;

(2) the duty of care, control, protection, and reasonable discipline of the child;

(3) the duty to support the child, including providing the child with clothing, food, shelter, medical and dental care, and education;

(4) the duty, except when a guardian of the child’s estate has been appointed, to manage the estate of the child, including the right as an agent of the child to act in relation to the child’s estate if the child’s action is required by a state, the United States, or a foreign government;

(5) except as provided by Section 264.0111, the right to the services and earnings of the child;

(6) the right to consent to the child’s marriage, enlistment in the armed forces of the United States, medical and dental care, and psychiatric, psychological, and surgical treatment;

(7) the right to represent the child in legal action and to make other decisions of substantial legal significance concerning the child;

(8) the right to receive and give receipt for payments for the support of the child and to hold or disburse funds for the benefit of the child;

(9) the right to inherit from and through the child;

(10) the right to make decisions concerning the child’s education; and

(11) any other right or duty existing between a parent and child by virtue of law.

(12) the right to determine the residence of the child

Number 12 is frequently the right for which most parties fight over when child custody is concerned.  However if the other side is doing drugs, never around, abusing alcohol, violent, has sexual fetishes, you would want the rights above exclusive to you.  No sharing of rights and no co-parenting because of the conflict between the two of you when you have one of the elements above may be possible.  If the conflict between the two of you is because of finances or chores and duties, it will be difficult to limit rights above.

Visitation

Visitation is the next issue after the court determines who has the ability to determine the residence.

§ 153.254. Child Less Than Three Years of Age.

(a) The court shall render an order appropriate under the circumstances for possession of a child less than three years of age.

(b) The court shall render a prospective order to take effect on the child’s third birthday, which presumptively will be the standard possession order.

§ 153.256. Factors for Court to Consider.

In ordering the terms of possession of a child under an order other than a standard possession order, the court shall be guided by the guidelines established by the standard possession order and may consider:

(1) the age, developmental status, circumstances, needs, and best interest of the child;

(2) the circumstances of the managing conservator and of the parent named as a possessory conservator; and

(3) any other relevant factor.

§ 153.312. Parents Who Reside 100 Miles or Less Apart.

(a) If the possessory conservator resides 100 miles or less from the primary residence of the child, the possessory conservator shall have the right to possession of the child as follows:

(1) on weekends beginning at 6 p.m. on the first, third, and fifth Friday of each month and ending at 6 p.m. on the following Sunday or, at the possessory conservator’s election made before or at the time of the rendition of the original or modification order, and as specified in the original or modification order, beginning at the time the child’s school is regularly dismissed and ending at 6 p.m. on the following Sunday; and

(2) on Thursdays of each week during the regular school term beginning at 6 p.m. and ending at 8 p.m., or, at the possessory conservator’s election made before or at the time of the rendition of the original or modification order, and as specified in the original or modification order, beginning at the time the child’s school is regularly dismissed and ending at the time the child’s school resumes, unless the court finds that visitation under this subdivision is not in the best interest of the child.

(b) The following provisions govern possession of the child for vacations and certain specific holidays and supersede conflicting weekend or Thursday periods of possession. The possessory conservator and the managing conservator shall have rights of possession of the child as follows:

(1) the possessory conservator shall have possession in even-numbered years, beginning at 6 p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school for the school’s spring vacation and ending at 6 p.m. on the day before school resumes after that vacation, and the managing conservator shall have possession for the same period in odd-numbered years;

(2) if a possessory conservator:

(A) gives the managing conservator written notice by April 1 of each year specifying an extended period or periods of summer possession, the possessory conservator shall have possession of the child for 30 days beginning not earlier than the day after the child’s school is dismissed for the summer vacation and ending not later than seven days before school resumes at the end of the summer vacation, to be exercised in not more than two separate periods of at least seven consecutive days each; or

(B) does not give the managing conservator written notice by April 1 of each year specifying an extended period or periods of summer possession, the possessory conservator shall have possession of the child for 30 consecutive days beginning at 6 p.m. on July 1 and ending at 6 p.m. on July 31;

(3) if the managing conservator gives the possessory conservator written notice by April 15 of each year, the managing conservator shall have possession of the child on any one weekend beginning Friday at 6 p.m. and ending at 6 p.m. on the following Sunday during one period of possession by the possessory conservator under Subdivision (2), provided that the managing conservator picks up the child from the possessory conservator and returns the child to that same place; and

(4) if the managing conservator gives the possessory conservator written notice by April 15 of each year or gives the possessory conservator 14 days’ written notice on or after April 16 of each year, the managing conservator may designate one weekend beginning not earlier than the day after the child’s school is dismissed for the summer vacation and ending not later than seven days before school resumes at the end of the summer vacation, during which an otherwise scheduled weekend period of possession by the possessory conservator will not take place, provided that the weekend designated does not interfere with the possessory conservator’s period or periods of extended summer possession or with Father’s Day if the possessory conservator is the father of the child.

§ 153.313. Parents Who Reside Over 100 Miles Apart.

If the possessory conservator resides more than 100 miles from the residence of the child, the possessory conservator shall have the right to possession of the child as follows:

(1) either regular weekend possession beginning on the first, third, and fifth Friday as provided under the terms applicable to parents who reside 100 miles or less apart or not more than one weekend per month of the possessory conservator’s choice beginning at 6 p.m. on the day school recesses for the weekend and ending at 6 p.m. on the day before school resumes after the weekend, provided that the possessory conservator gives the managing conservator 14 days’ written or telephonic notice preceding a designated weekend, and provided that the possessory conservator elects an option for this alternative period of possession by written notice given to the managing conservator within 90 days after the parties begin to reside more than 100 miles apart, as applicable;

(2) each year beginning on the day the child is dismissed from school for the school’s spring vacation and ending at 6 p.m. on the day before school resumes after that vacation; (3) if the possessory conservator:

(A) gives the managing conservator written notice by April 1 of each year specifying an extended period or periods of summer possession, the possessory conservator shall have possession of the child for 42 days beginning not earlier than the day after the child’s school is dismissed for the summer vacation and ending not later than seven days before school resumes at the end of the summer vacation, to be exercised in not more than two separate periods of at least seven consecutive days each; or

(B) does not give the managing conservator written notice by April 1 of each year specifying an extended period or periods of summer possession, the possessory conservator shall have possession of the child for 42 consecutive days beginning at 6 p.m. on June 15 and ending at 6 p.m. on July 27;

(4) if the managing conservator gives the possessory conservator written notice by April 15 of each year the managing conservator shall have possession of the child on one weekend beginning Friday at 6 p.m. and ending at 6 p.m. on the following Sunday during one period of possession by the possessory conservator under Subdivision (3), provided that if a period of possession by the possessory conservator exceeds 30 days, the managing conservator may have possession of the child under the terms of this subdivision on two nonconsecutive weekends during that time period, and further provided that the managing conservator picks up the child from the possessory conservator and returns the child to that same place; and

(5) if the managing conservator gives the possessory conservator written notice by April 15 of each year, the managing conservator may designate 21 days beginning not earlier than the day after the child’s school is dismissed for the summer vacation and ending not later than seven days before school resumes at the end of the summer vacation, to be exercised in not more than two separate periods of at least seven consecutive days each, during which the possessory conservator may not have possession of the child, provided that the period or periods so designated do not interfere with the possessory conservator’s period or periods of extended summer possession or with Father’s Day if the possessory conservator is the father of the child.

§ 153.314. Holiday Possession Unaffected by Distance Parents Reside Apart.

The following provisions govern possession of the child for certain specific holidays and supersede conflicting weekend or Thursday periods of possession without regard to the distance the parents reside apart. The possessory conservator and the managing conservator shall have rights of possession of the child as follows:

(1) the possessory conservator shall have possession of the child in even-numbered years beginning at 6 p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school for the Christmas school vacation and ending at noon on December 26, and the managing conservator shall have possession for the same period in odd-numbered years;

(2) the possessory conservator shall have possession of the child in odd-numbered years beginning at noon on December 26 and ending at 6 p.m. on the day before school resumes after that vacation, and the managing conservator shall have possession for the same period in even-numbered years;

(3) the possessory conservator shall have possession of the child in odd-numbered years, beginning at 6 p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school before Thanksgiving and ending at 6 p.m. on the following Sunday, and the managing conservator shall have possession for the same period in even-numbered years;

(4) the parent not otherwise entitled under this standard order to present possession of a child on the child’s birthday shall have possession of the child beginning at 6 p.m. and ending at 8 p.m. on that day, provided that the parent picks up the child from the residence of the conservator entitled to possession and returns the child to that same place;

(5) if a conservator, the father shall have possession of the child beginning at 6 p.m. on the Friday preceding Father’s Day and ending on Father’s Day at 6 p.m., provided that, if he is not otherwise entitled under this standard order to present possession of the child, he picks up the child from the residence of the conservator entitled to possession and returns the child to that same place; and

(6) if a conservator, the mother shall have possession of the child beginning at 6 p.m. on the Friday preceding Mother’s Day and ending on Mother’s Day at 6 p.m., provided that, if she is not otherwise entitled under this standard order to present possession of the child, she picks up the child from the residence of the conservator entitled to possession and returns the child to that same place.

§ 153.315. Weekend Possession Extended by Holiday.

(a) If a weekend period of possession of the possessory conservator coincides with a school holiday during the regular school term or with a federal, state, or local holiday during the summer months in which school is not in session, the weekend possession shall end at 6 p.m. on a Monday holiday or school holiday or shall begin at 6 p.m. Thursday for a Friday holiday or school holiday, as applicable.

(b) At the possessory conservator’s election, made before or at the time of the rendition of the original or modification order, and as specified in the original or modification order, periods of possession extended by a holiday may begin at the time the child’s school is regularly dismissed.

Child Support

Child support in Texas is based on your net resources.  The deductions allowed and the calculations can be found at https://www.oag.state.tx.us/cs/attorneys/attorneys_other_tax.shtml.  The child support is then times by a percentage based on the children that the obligor has a duty to support.  A good online calculator may be found at http://www.co.travis.tx.us/records_communication/law_library/pdfs/calculator.pdf

Health Insurance

One of the parents will be obligated to provide health insurance on the children.  This is usually the parent who pays the child support.  The parties typically split co-pays and deducible 50-50.  This is one area the judge may order the oblige to provide the health insurance and the obligor reimburse cash medical.

About the Author

Michael Busby Jr. is a divorce, family law, &  Harris County Child Custody Lawyer,  who practices in Harris County Texas and the counties that surround Harris County, Texas. He has been in practice for over 11 years and has tried over 100 cases.  He is familiar with the policy and procedures of the Harris County Texas Divorce Courts.   Our office is open until 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for working folks.  Please call with your family law,  divorce, & Harris County Child Custody questions  in Harris County Texas.

Michael Busby Jr.

2909 Hillcroft Suite 350

Houston, Texas 77057

(713) 974-1151

Visit me on the web at www.busby-lee.com

Harris County Child Custody Lawyer also would be applicable to the following communities within the greater Houston, Texas Area: Houston, Katy, Sugarland, Pearland, Friendswood, Clear Lake and Galveston.  We also handle cases from The Woodlands, Spring and Tomball and cases in Baytown,  Channelview.Alvin, Baytown, Beasley, Bellaire, Brookshire, Channelview, Clear Lake, Clearlake, College Station, Conroe, Dayton, East Bernard, Fairfax, Friendswood, Fulshear, Galleria, Greatwood, Hockley, Houston, Humble, Jersey Village, Kingwood, League City, La Marque, Orchard, Magnolia, Meadows Place, Meyerland, Missouri City, Needville, Pasadena, Pecan Grove, Pearland, Richmond, River Oaks, Rosenberg, Sealy, Sharpstown, Shenandoah, Simonton, Southside Place, Spring, Spring Branch, Spring Valley, Stafford, Sweetwater, Tanglewood, Texas City, Tomball, West University, Valley Lodge