One size doesn’t fit all for shirts nor for child visitation schedules. Families are unique, and you may need a possession schedule that works with your specific situation. The standard possession order may work for many, but you deserve a schedule that considers the best interests of your child as well as the needs of others in your family.

What Is the Standard Possession Order?

The standard possession order is a default visitation schedule that is often used when parents do not specify how they want time to be divided. There are technically three standard orders depending on how far apart the parents live.

If parents live a shorter distance apart (up to 100 miles), the child spends the first, third, and fifth weekends of each month with the noncustodial parent. Holidays and other special days are divided according to even and odd years. The noncustodial parent gets 30 days of extended parenting time during summer vacation.

If parents live farther apart (over 100 miles), the noncustodial parent can select one weekend per month with the child. Most holidays are divided according to even and odd years. However, the noncustodial parent does get extra time during spring break and 42 days of extended parenting time during summer vacation. 

Many courts prefer to use the standard possession order; however, it is not required. Parents can deviate from it when they can prove it is in the child’s best interests to make another schedule work.

How Does a 50-50 Custody Order Work?

Since a 50-50 possession schedule is not typically ordered by the court, it is generally established through an agreement between the parents. Courts encourage parents to work together and make a parenting plan that works best for everyone.

While the judge will still review the 50-50 custody schedule, they will approve it as long as it appears to be in the best interests of the child. It is almost always in the best interests of the child for parents to be in agreement and coparenting together.  

A 50-50 possession order may be crafted in any manner that works best for the child and parents. The time does not have to be split exactly in half, but it should be generally equal between the parents for it to be considered a 50/50 custody order. If time is not split evenly, it may affect other rights and responsibilities, such as child support.

Who Pays Child Support?

Under a standard possession order, the noncustodial parent typically pays child support to the custodial parent. However, this can vary under a 50-50 possession schedule. Sometimes the higher earning parent pays the lower earning parent child support. Other times neither parent pays the other money and they both share expenses.

How to Get a 50-50 Custody Order

To get a 50-50 possession order, you must sit down with your child’s other parent and come to an agreement about when each of you will have custody of the child. You should write down important dates and times that you want to reserve with the child. You should be willing to compromise on some times while standing strong on those that are important to you.

Your child custody lawyer can help you draft a parenting agreement that details your possession time. You will present the agreement to the judge, who will review the documents and incorporate them into an order.

What If We Can’t Agree on All of the Details of the Parenting Agreement?

If you and your child’s other parent cannot agree on any of the details, but you don’t want to leave it up to the court to decide, you might try mediation. During mediation you and your co-parent will present details of your case to a neutral third party mediator. The mediator can help you and your co-parent reach a middle ground that was difficult to achieve with prior attempts.

A Child Custody Lawyer Can Help You Get a 50-50 Possession Order

Being away from your child is hard enough, but only seeing them on the weekends can be devastating. A 50-50 possession order can allow you to spend more time with your child during the week, on holiday, and on other special occasions. When you and your child’s other parent sit down and make an agreement, you have many options on how to split time.

By working with a child custody lawyer, you will have someone on your side who protects your parental rights and helps you navigate the family court process. Don’t risk time with your child by accepting the default possession schedule.

Call the Law Office of Ben Carrasco PLLC to speak with a trusted family lawyer who can offer solid legal advice about your specific situation.

About the Author
Ben Carrasco is a highly skilled family law attorney based in Austin, Texas, known for his extensive expertise in family law and business litigation. While his primary focus is family law, Ben brings a wealth of experience in litigating diverse business disputes, ranging from breach of contract and collections to business torts, fraud, and real estate matters. In his family law practice, Ben navigates all aspects of the field, including divorce, child custody, support, property division, and more, offering clients expert guidance throughout the litigation process. His legal journey began in complex commercial litigation, initially with a global law firm and later with a prominent Austin-based firm. However, driven by a desire to make a direct impact on people's lives and embrace the human element of the law, Ben transitioned to family law, a decision that has proven to be deeply rewarding. A proud Austin native with roots in California, Ben completed his undergraduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley, before earning his law degree at Stanford Law School, where he excelled in legal writing and served as an associate editor of the Stanford Law and Policy Review.