Caitlin Thorpe Explains The Standard Possession And Access Schedules Court Adopt In Child Custody Case

Aug 23, 2023

Navigating child custody arrangements can be intricate, especially when it comes to determining possession and access schedules. To shed light on the different schedules that courts adopt in child custody cases, I had a conversation with Caitlin Thorpe, a Houston Family Law Attorney. She elaborated on the Standard Possession and Access Schedules commonly employed by courts and how they impact child custody arrangements.

The Basics of Standard Possession and Access Schedules

Caitlin Thorpe began by discussing the foundational concept of Standard Possession and Access Schedules in Texas law. “Under Texas law, we have what’s called a Standard Possession Order,” Caitlin explained. This order is presumed to be in the best interest of children over the age of three. However, it’s essential to note that there have been recent changes in this area.

Variations in Possession Schedules

Caitlin Thorpe, a Houston Child Custody Lawyer, highlighted the two main variations of Standard Possession and Access Schedules: the basic order and the order with elections. The specifics of these schedules depend on the distance between parents’ residences. “When you’re looking at the possession schedules, you’re looking at how far parents live apart from each other,” she emphasized.

Different Scenarios, Different Schedules

For parents residing within a 50-mile radius of each other, a standard possession schedule is put in place. “It’s presumed that the parent should have every Thursday during the regular school year from the time school dismisses until the next morning on Friday,” Caitlin outlined. Additionally, the non-primary parent has possession on the first, third, and fifth weekends from dismissal until Monday morning.

If parents live between 50 and 100 miles apart, the schedule is adapted. Overnights on Thursdays are replaced with dinner time, with the child returning at 6 p.m. on Sunday. Caitlin clarified that this adjustment aims to minimize extensive travel times for the child, especially in cities like Houston.

For parents living over 100 miles apart, the schedule further evolves. The parent residing over 100 miles has the option to choose between one week per month or maintaining the first, third, and fifth weekends. This parent receives an extended 42-day possession period in the summer, in contrast to the normal 30 days.

Navigating Court Decisions

Caitlin underlined that courts tend to stick to these standard schedules unless there are compelling reasons for deviation. “In my experience, if you go into court, you’ve got to show that there’s some reason that this is not best for your kids,” she emphasized. Courts generally order these schedules, unless there are legitimate concerns warranting a different arrangement.

Understanding the intricacies of Standard Possession and Access Schedules is pivotal when dealing with child custody arrangements. As Caitlin Thorpe’s insights demonstrate, these schedules are designed with the child’s best interest in mind, factoring in distance and various scenarios. If parents seek deviations, they must present compelling reasons to the court. For those navigating child custody matters, consulting with a knowledgeable family law attorney like Caitlin can provide crucial guidance in ensuring the well-being of the children while adhering to legal standards.

If you would like to hire Caitlin for your Family Law, visit and type in Caitlin Thorpe in the search bar.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is not intended to be legal advice. Each situation is different, and the insurance laws in your state may differ from those discussed in this article. Please seek the advice of a professional for any questions related to your specific situation.

Caitlin Thorpe

Caitlin Thorpe

Houston Family Law Attorney

Caitlin is a highly accomplished family law attorney, certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, a distinction held by only 1% of Texas family lawyers. With a decade at Skillern Firm, she began as the firm's first law clerk and honed her skills under Mr. Skillern's mentorship. Caitlin excels in handling various family law cases and is known for her prowess in complex property matters and child custody modifications. A graduate of South Texas College of Law, she shone in advocacy, securing national recognition. She's not only a skilled litigator but also values alternative dispute resolution, fostering client trust and comfort.

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