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Do Texas Child Support Guidelines discourage equal possession time?

On Behalf of | Mar 8, 2019 | Child Custody

Studies have shown that equal possession time by parents decreases the stress on children of divorced households. Texas and other states having been moving towards child custody models that provide for a shared time of possession for the children.

There are many different schedules that provide for equal or near equal time of possession with the children.

  1.  The Texas Standard Possession Order:   provides the non-custodial parent power to elect to have approximately 46% of the possession, access and visitation with the children. The expanded schedule gives the non-custodial parent 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekends and Thursday overnight every week during the school year, with standard holiday and summertime visitations.
  2. 5-2-2-5: provides the parents with a 50/50 time of possession, access, and visitation with the children. This schedule is the most predictable and widely used schedule by the courts in Williamson, Travis and surrounding counties. This schedule provides that one parent shall have the children on Monday and Tuesday, the other parent shall have the children on Wednesday and Thursday and the parents shall alternate weekends and holidays.
  3. 2-2-3: provides the parents with a 50/50 time of possession, access, and visitation with the children. As under the 5-2-2-5 schedule the parents would have possession of the children on alternating weekends, however the weekly schedule would change every week. For instance;
    1. Week 1 Mom has Monday and Tuesday, Dad has Wednesday, and Thursday and Mom has the children for the weekend, and on the following weekend,
    1. Week 2 Dad has Monday and Tuesday, Mom has Wednesday, and Thursday and Dad has the weekend with the children.
  4. Weekly: provides that the parents have alternating weeks with the children.

Equal time of possession is becoming a more normal alternative for parents living in close proximity to each other. These schedules become more difficult the further the parents choose to move from each other. The other factor that hinders or reduces the willingness of parties to agree on an equal time of possession is child support. More often than not the disagreement is over money, not the time of possession.

Texas guidelines regarding child support are presumed to be in the best interest of the child if the standard possession order is implemented. If the parties agree to a 50/50 schedule the guidelines are no longer presumed to the amount of support that is in the best interest of the child.

Often when an equal time of possession schedule is implemented or agreed to by the parties the courts will order a child support based off an offset in the party’s incomes. The court will order both parties to pay child support based on what the guidline amount of child support would be if ordered. Then the party with the higher income would pay the difference.

This system creates an incentive for both parties to fight for time of possession due to manner child support will be calculated. Texas still provides that the standard possession order is in the best interest of the children. This is a rebuttable presumption meaning that if the parties have been following another schedule or some other factor is present then the court may not choose the Texas Standard Possession Order. This creates a situation where if one parent wants child support they will not agree to give the other spouse equal time because they will likely receive less child support. The current state of Texas law does discourage equal time of possession.

If you have questions about child custody in Williamson County, call the Round Rock Law Office of Clifford Swayze at 512-920-5080. Clifford Swayze is committed to his clients and advocating for their well-being. In addition, to helping clients with divorce and family law matters, Clifford Swayze is an experienced and skilled child custody lawyer practicing in the following communities in and around Round Rock, and Williamson County, Texas:

Cedar Park, Round Rock, Leander, Georgetown, Liberty Hill, Hutto, Taylor, Killeen, Temple, Coppers Cove and Austin.