In Texas, there is a standard possession order applying to custody cases. Right now, it is a standard order that 75% of custody will go to one parent while 25% goes to the other. This is an older rule that could be updated to reflect a more modern 50/50 split with the option to adjust it as fitting based on the parents’ situations.
Parents in Texas have been arguing to have the assumed standard possession order changed to 50/50 custody because not doing so is encouraging fighting and litigation. Parents who don’t litigate to make themselves seem like the parent who should get primary custody currently may find that they end up only getting to see their child around 25% of the time.
50/50 shared custody is the goal for many parents
Many parents want to have a 50/50 custody schedule. They also want to make sure that fathers are getting the right amount of time with their children. The attorney general’s office has admitted that only around 8% of custodial parents are men in Texas. Some believe that this places an unfair burden on women because there is an assumption that they will take over a motherly role following a divorce rather than getting equal support from their child’s father.
Enter House Bill 803
House Bill 803 addresses this issue by introducing the 50/50 assumed standard possession order. This would be the default in court if the bill passes. With this default, parents still have the ability to amend the order, and the court could still have some say if there was a different arrangement that would be better for a child. However, the main assumption, which is what most cases will go with, would be that the child would share their time equally between homes.
The bill currently has 21 cosponsors and bipartisan support, but it has stalled and has not yet been heard by the Juvenile Justice and Family Issues Committee.
This bill could change the way custody is handled in divorces in the future. It’s smart to stay updated, especially if you plan to divorce with children in the future.